FX Excursions

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4 Reasons to Add the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology to Your Dublin Travels

by Aoife O’Riordan

Mar 13, 2024

© Imagoinsulae | Dreamstime.com

Daily

With three national museums spread across Ireland’s capital, National Museum of Ireland showcases aspects of Ireland’s history, nature and culture for all to see and enjoy. While National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History sits on the north side of the city, both National Museum of Ireland – Natural History and National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology sit side by side. If you’re tight on time, be sure to visit the latter.

National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology features Irish and other antiquities dating from the Stone Age all the way to the Late Middle Ages. But there are four main exhibits you can’t forget to see while here.

Bog Bodies

Yes, you heard that right. And while you might think the best of the bog bodies on display is in the British Museum (Lindow Man) or Moesgaard Museum in Denmark (Grauballe Man), National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology is home to not one but two bog bodies discovered in the peat fields across Ireland. This exhibition delves into the role of human sacrifice, the deposition of victims in bogs and kingship rituals in Iron Age Ireland.

sword

Viking Iron Sword © Whpics | Dreamstime.com

Viking Ireland

Like other European countries, Ireland was not spared during the Viking attacks from the 10th to 12th centuries. This permanent exhibition covers surviving objects found in Ireland during these Viking raids and settlements. In fact, Dublin was one of the most famous Viking settlements in Ireland, with a few Viking kings even ruling from the Irish capital for a time.

 

Ór – Ireland’s Gold

Beautiful jewelry and objects crafted from gold and bronze were characteristic of the Early Bronze Age in Ireland. Those thick, golden torcs, bracelets and dress fasteners, each just as intricate and ornate as the last, point to a complex society in Ireland at the time. Take in the fascinating pieces in this permanent exhibition.

chalice

Ardagh Chalice © Imagoinsulae | Dreamstime.com

The Treasury

Between the Iron Age and 12th century, Ireland was a center for religious learning. In this time period, illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Kells and Book of Leinster were crafted. This exhibit explores the transition of a pagan Ireland to a Christian country, early medieval craftsmanship and more. Here, you’ll find an early medieval Book of Psalms dating to about 800 A.D., a horn from the first century B.C., the famous Ardagh Chalice and the Bell of St. Patrick.

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