The Museum of Archaeology on Kildare Street is quite simply fantastic and right in the heart of all the action (government buildings are next door) an iconic architectural gem in its own right with zodiac floor and marble columns, not to mention the gold collection, the bog bodies, plus a horde of Viking treasures. And you can take the weight off your feet for a while and watch a film in the theater upstairs, it also has a very good cafe.
The Natural History Museum just around the corner on Merrion Street, houses what is fondly known in Dublin as the ‘Dead Zoo’ these stuffed animals have been dead for a very long time ie since I was a child, so we are on first name terms Spoticus –the giraffe and me. Rent out ‘A Night in the Museum’ to get kids (or yourself) in the mood and let your imagination run riot!
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The Museum of Decorative Arts & History is over on the northside and is easily accessible on foot or the Luas stops outside the door if you are lazy? The Curators Choice is a selection of 25 of the nations best treasures including the Fonthill Vase. Which is the oldest piece of porcelain in Europe, that belonged once upon a time to (among others) the Dauphin of France no less, but was acquired by the Museum at an auction in 1880 for just £28.
And lastly, my favourite, the Museum of Country Life set in beautiful parkland, just outside Castlebar in County Mayo. A family could easily spend all day here so bring a picnic although there is a cafe as well. Turlogh House is a replica of what ‘big houses’ used to be like in Ireland. The Museum itself is a very modern and well designed building and exhibition space. It is very user friendly with charming, well put together collections that depict the lives of our forefathers who worked on the land or at sea. They were certainly very inventive if the Straw exhibition is anything to go by...
For full details of opening hours please consult the websites below. As above admission is free, ditto drop-in events etc although there may be a small charge for specialist workshops.