7 Fascinating Items From The National Museum of Ireland Online Collection

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national museum of ireland online collection

The National Museum of Ireland have launched a new online gallery. It showcases items from their collections that reflect resilience. We have picked out 7 fascinating items from the National Museum of Ireland online collection ‘Reflections on Resilience’. Take a look for yourself and see what you think of them!

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The National Museum of Ireland is Ireland’s largest cultural institution. With the current closures, the collections team have curated ‘Reflections on Resilience’. This online gallery features a diverse range of objects and specimens from the Museum’s collection.

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From the historic to the more contemporary, these items all demonstrate our collective resilience in the face of challenges, both from an Irish and global perspective.

Fascinating Items From The National Museum of Ireland Online Collection: Reflections on Resilience

#1. Albert Sutton’s Photo Album

National Museum of Ireland online collection Albert Sutton Photo album

Albert Sutton was born in 1921 in Clontarf, Dublin. Without his parents knowledge, he enlisted in the RAF just as WW1 was beginning.

His photo album, which has been bequeathed to the National Museum of Ireland, depicts life in the RAF during WW1.

It showcases scenes of people and places affected by war. This includes airplanes, airbases, colleagues, European cities and special occasions such as Christmas and weddings.

It also contains glimpses into the horrors of war. On April 15th 1945, Albert Sutton was one of the first of the allied forces on-site at the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in Lower Saxony to liberate the survivors of the Holocaust. It is a true representation of the resilience of people during adversity.

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#2. Flint Mace Head

National Museum of Ireland online collection Flint mace head

Originating from 3300 – 2800 BC this highly decorated flint mace-head was found in a burial tomb in Knowth in Meath.

Showcasing the talent of the craftsman, it illustrates how in Neolithic times society created ornate objects to use in ceremonies and rituals to make sense of life and death.

#3. Jellyfish

glass model of a jellyfish at NMI online collection

 

Did you know that Jellyfish have been on earth for more than 500 million years? Although they don’t have bones, a brain, a stomach or lungs they are extremely resilient creatures.

As you will know if you have ever encountered one while swimming, they have long tentacles which contain stinging cells. They use these to entangle their prey and stun them.

There are many different jellyfish but the ones we see mostly off the coast of Ireland include the moon jellyfish, compass jellyfish, barrel jellyfish, mauve stinger, blue jellyfish and more recently the Lion’s mane jellyfish.

The NMI have over 500 glass models, like the one in the picture, on display. They also have jellyfish preserved in jars for you to see!

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#4. Panti Bliss’ Noble Call Speech Dress

National Museum of Ireland online collection Panti Bliss Noble Call Speech Dress

Taken from more recent times, the Noble Call speech dress was worn by Panti Bliss (aka Rory O’ Neill) on the night of February 1st 2014. That night at The Abbey Theatre, she gave an impassioned speech about her experience of homophobia and oppression in Ireland.

The dress represents many things;

  • The Noble Call speech made by Panti Bliss on the stage of the Abbey Theatre on the night of 1 February 2014
  • Her struggle to be accepted as equal in Irish society
  • The passing of the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015
  • More significantly, it has come to represent the decades’ long struggle of the entire Irish LGBTI+ community for human and civil rights in the Irish state.

#5. Sea Sponge

Sea Sponge from the National Museum of Ireland online collection

Did you know that sea sponges are actually an ancient group of animals? And that they have been around for more than 543 million years!

They come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and colours. They are multicellular animals that can move and even if broken down, can reform when left in seawater. They resort to chemical welfare to protect themselves against predators! They contain a wide range of bioactive properties such as anti-inflammatory and anti-toxin compounds.

Next time you go rock-pooling be sure to look out for them in pools and rocks along the shore.

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#6. Mesolithic Fish Trap

National Museum of Ireland online collection Fish Trap model

Fish traps were used by the earliest settlers in Ireland 4970 to 5210 BC. This one is a replica of one discovered at a fishing site in Meath. It shows how the settlers used their knowledge of fish to design the trap and their knowledge of wood to create the trap in a woven, basket style.

The original is on display in the Prehistoric Ireland collection at the National Museum of Ireland- Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin.

#7. ‘Ireland Invites You’ Travel Poster from 1953

NMI Ireland Invites You Travel Poster from 1953

This Irish Travel Poster from 1953 was designed by Dutch artist Guus Melai who worked for the publicity department of airline KLM.

It depicts a man in the costume of the Aran Islands, weaving a traditional belt known as a ‘crios’ with men carrying the traditional currach fishing boat towards the sea.

It was issued by Fógra Fáilte, who at that time handled the publicity for the Irish Tourist Board, Bord Fáilte Éireann. Entitled ‘Ireland Invites You’ it deliberately has no strapline or logo, allowing companies to insert their own logo and strapline for publicity.

More Fascinating Items To Spot

We hope you enjoyed our selection from the National Museum of Ireland Reflections on Resilience online gallery. Do check out the full gallery as there are even more fascinating items including graffiti from Viking times and a GAA Raffle Ticket from 1940!

Over to you now. Do you have a favourite piece from the National Museum of Ireland online collection? Please let us know in the comments box below. 

7 Fascinating Items From The National Museum of Ireland Online Collection

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