Are you looking for free things to do with the family this summer? We are lucky to have 4 National Museums in Ireland, all of which are free to visit. Here are 12 fun free things to do at the National Museums of Ireland over the summer, all tried and tested by families.
The National Museums of Ireland are a treasure trove of artefacts, historic items and interesting animals. They offer a window into our past. They are all free to visit and run regular events for families throughout the year. Take time this Summer to discover free things to do with the family at one or all of them.
Free Things To Do With The Family At Our National Museums of Ireland
National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Mayo
#1. Step Back In Time
Explore Ireland’s National Folklife Collection to see how people lived long ago. Learn about age-old crafts, see the blacksmith’s forge, farming equipment and what an Irish home would have looked like in the 19th century.
#2. Visit the Kitchen Power Exhibition
Take a step back in time and see how the main room in the household operated and how the introduction of electricity made a massive change in families lives!
#3. Get On Your Bike
Get on your bike and combine a visit to the museum with a Western Greenway day out for all of the family. The 10km Museum Greenway is classed as ‘easy to moderate’ and links Lough Lannagh in Castlebar with the grounds of Turlough Park. Bicycle parking facilities are available at the museum and bicycle hire is available in Castlebar.
National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin
#4. Discover Hidden Treasures in the Albert Bender Exhibition
There are 12 Thangkas on display at the museum, they are part of a wider collection of 21 that illustrate the Arhats (disciples) of Buddha, and the four guardians of the four quarters of the world.
Find hidden animals, flora and landscapes in these beautiful Buddhist paintings in the Albert Bender exhibition.
#5. Look Up To Discover The Vampire Jet
While wandering around the Soldiers & Chiefs exhibit, look up: the Jet suspended from the roof will surprise you! It is a De Havilland Vampire jet in Irish Air Corps colours.
Here you will also learn much about how Ireland changed from being a country with resources of foot soldiers for the British Army to an independent nation with its own armed forces.
#6. Take The Asgard Trail!
Asgard is a 51-foot (16 m) yacht that was owned by the English-born writer and Irish nationalist Erskine Childers and his wife Molly Childers. The Asgard served during the First World War and has an amazing story to tell about the part it played in the Howth gun-running incident of 1904.
Take the interactive family trail through the exhibition and check out the original workbench and tools used in the Asgard’s conservation.
Why not share your impressions and memories by writing or drawing in the exhibition’s response area.
National Museum of Ireland – Natural History Museum, Merrion Square, Dublin
#7. Surround Yourself With Butterflies, Bugs & Insects
For those with an interest in creepy crawlies, check out the range of insects & bugs, at the back of the Irish Room.
The extensive insect collection makes up over half the specimens in the museum and includes a selection of the 34 different species of butterfly living in Ireland. Which one is your favourite?
#8. Check Out The Wonder Cabinet
The Wonder Cabinet is inspired by the ‘cabinets of curiosity’ from Victorian times and a one-of-a-kind, specially designed space, for visitors to get up close to a range of real and replica specimens exploring the theme of predators and prey. Many of the fossils were discovered here in Ireland!
#9. Marvel At The Giant Irish Deer
The giant Irish deer skeletons greet you as you enter the Museum. They are some of the most famous and distinctive animals on display here. One of the skeletons has an antler span of 3.5 metres.
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin
#10. Explore Some Of Ireland’s Greatest Treasures
Explore some of Ireland’s most iconic artefacts in The Treasury exhibition, including the Ardagh Chalice, the ‘Tara’ Brooch and the Derrynaflan Hoard.
#11. Learn All About Vikings!
Learn all about Ireland’s Vikings and see one of the greatest collections of Viking finds in Europe.
#12. Discover The Truth About Brian Boru
Clontarf is probably the best-known battle in Irish history but is the legend of a great victory for the Christian King of Ireland, Brian Boru, against the pagan Vikings, really correct? Find out in the Clontarf 1014 exhibition.
Have your say! Which National Museum of Ireland have you visited with your family? What did you enjoy seeing at them? Please let us know in the comments box below.