Irelands national museum could not have a nicer or more historic home at Collins Barracks.
Firstly, make sure you check out opening days and times before you get there as the museum is closed on Mondays. You can get all the details at www.museum.ie This site will also tell you of any forthcoming temporary exhibitions at the museum.
Collins barracks is very easy to get to. You can walk there from O'Connell street in about 20 minutes, you can take the Luas to the MUSEUM stop and I think this is about the best way to get right to the front door.
The buildiing itself is very imposing and the large courtyard a great place for photos.
When we were there the museum was displaying in the courtyard a full replica of the Sea Stallion of Glendalough. This is a very iimpressive reproduction viking ship, however I thought the exhibit lacked any facts and figures about this famous ship. I thought they might have had story boards at various points around the ship to explain its fascinating history. However there is a a small viewing area allowing you to see the inside of the ship. Interesting though, this viewing area is not wheelchair accessible.
The museum building is a lovley place to explore and you can spend at least an hour or two just browsing or longer if you have any specific Irish historical interests.
One comment I would have is that while there are a lot of interesting looking artefacts there, there is nothing to explain what they were used for. The name is given and sometimes the year but notthing more. This was a little frustrating as I kept thinking "I wonder what that was used for"
The museum staff are very helpful and discreet.
When we were there in May '08 a very interesting 100 years of Scouting exhibit was installed. It was very well laid out and should interest anyone who ever had any connection with the scouting movement.
There is a cafe there where the food is quite good (quite similar menu to the Avoca shop). Unfortunately the staff that we encountered there were grumpy and rude. If I was visiting the museum again I would not include the cafe.
The food was not cheap. €30 for 2 small salads a bottle of juice and a glass of wine. There was a little 'Tip' bowl at the cash register, but none of my hard earned cash found it's way into it.
I was embarrassed tha visitors to my country would have to meet up with these indifferent individuals.
There is a small museum shop selling souvenirs.
The museum is a must see, possibly not for very young children, but children of school going age would certainly be interested. The fact that it is completely free of charge is an added bonus.
Well done to the curator and his/her staff. I really enjoyed my visit there.
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