Northern Ireland is home to some of the world’s most interesting museums due to the history that surrounds it.
From 1968-1998, the Northern Ireland Troubles took place, a conflict that led to over 3,600 deaths and many more injuries.
In the present day, Northern Ireland is a peaceful country. However, sharing the history not only following The Troubles but many other historic events, is an important part of the Northern Irish culture.
We’re detailing some of the best museums in the country where you can go to witness this enriching history firsthand and learn more about Northern Ireland.
The Titanic Experience
The Titanic is a world-famous, historic passenger liner that held a close connection to Northern Ireland, and still remains to do so in the present day. The Titanic first set sail to Southampton from the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast on April 2, 1912.
The Titanic Museum first opened in 2012. It is a six-floor building with nine brilliant galleries that tell the story of the ship from beginning to end, offering great insight into the enriching history of the Titanic. Visitors to the museum can actually experience the sights, sounds and feelings of the ship and the sea, giving a wholly realistic aspect to the experience.
The museum quickly became one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Belfast, so it is without a doubt a must-see. The tour itself takes around two hours on average. There is a range of audio tour guides to provide you with all of the information in each gallery that you visit. Titanic Belfast offers tickets for children, adults, students, and families, all differing in price. You can choose the type of tour you would like, so there’s something for everyone.
Ulster Museum, Botanic Court, Belfast
The Ulster Museum is often referred to as Northern Ireland’s “treasure house,” due to the fact it is home to an abundance of intriguing aspects of Northern Irish culture, past and present.
Located beside the prestigious Queen’s University and beautiful Botanic Gardens, the Ulster Museum is in a prime location, handy for anyone visiting Belfast City. The museum is within walking distance to the bustling road of Botanic Avenue, as well as Stranmillis, both of which offer a variety of cafes, restaurants, corner shops and bars popular amongst visitors.
A visit to the Ulster Museum is something that the whole family can truly enjoy. You can learn about the history of Northern Ireland, as well as view art from artists local and around the world alike. There are plenty of interactive zones in the museum to keep young children interested and engaged, as well as a cafe and gift shop where you can purchase merchandise to mark your time spent there. The Botanic Gardens are connected to the grounds of the museum, so if the weather is favorable, you could enjoy a picnic amongst the stunning surroundings.
One of the best things about visiting this museum is that it costs absolutely nothing. So, you can bring the entire family and still not have to pay an entrance fee. It’s the perfect place to take children during the summer holidays, or on the other hand, it’s an ideal place for adults to enjoy a relaxing afternoon, delving into history and art, especially if you’re on a budget.
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Holywood, County Down
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This museum is one of the many museums from “National Museums Northern Ireland,” who also own the Ulster Museum. The Folk and Transport Museum represents the history, culture and creativity within Northern Ireland, with buildings and transport dating back 100 years.
This museum is split into two sub-museums; one is the Transport museum and the other is the Folk Museum. You can do the full museum tour, which gives you access to both parts. Though do keep in mind that you’ll likely need a complete day to experience it in full. The Folk Museum is made up of old houses, shops, schools and churches. There are live actors, which make the experience all the more realistic, like stepping back in time. Most of the buildings are open for visitors to enter, and whilst some are replicas, many are original.
The Transport museum showcases the Irish Railway collection, Road Transport Galleries and Land, Sea and Sky Galleries. The extensive transportation collection at this museum displays how people traveled to, from and within Northern Ireland in the last 100 years.
The Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, County Tyrone
The Ulster American Folk Park is an open-air museum just outside Omagh, in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. With more than 30 exhibit buildings to explore, the museum tells the story of three centuries of Irish emigration.
Using costumed guides and displays of traditional crafts, the museum focuses on those who left Ulster for America in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. The museum is part of National Museums Northern Ireland.
Linen Hall Library, Donegall Square, Belfast
The Linen Hall Library is a truly unique institution. Founded in 1788, it is the oldest library in Belfast and the only remaining library in Ireland that still generates a proportion of its income from membership.
The Library is free to enter and enjoy and is housed in a stunning Victorian former linen warehouse in the picturesque Donegall Square, across from Belfast City Hall.
It has a radical and “enlightenment” foundation, and has prized its independence and maintained the principle that its resources are owned by the community for the community.
It is renowned for its unparalleled Irish and Local Studies Collection, ranging from comprehensive holdings of Early Belfast and Ulster printed books to the 350,000 items in the Northern Ireland Political Collection, the definitive archive of the recent ‘Troubles.’
Written by Stuart Cooke, a blog writer at UniBaggage.com.