Take a deep dive into Ireland’s rich history and culture this summer by visiting some of the fascinating museums Ireland has to offer
This summer, take a step back into this past and let your curiosity be piqued by some of these fascinating museums across Ireland. From language to literature, storytelling to sport, Ireland has carved out a unique position when it comes to our history and culture. To connect with this, we rely on museums to provide a gateway to the past. We’ve rounded up eight museums to visit this summer below.
Opening its doors in 2016, EPIC museum is one of Dublin’s youngest museums. Despite being relatively new to the scene, it was voted Europe’s leading tourist attraction at the World Travel Awards three years in a row. Located on Custom House Quay, it is the Irish emigration museum, and tells the story of why 10 million people emigrated from the island since 1800, becoming scientists, politicians, and poets after they left Irish soil. It is the world’s first fully digital museum, so you can expect an interactive experience with video galleries, digitalised artefacts, and motion sensor quizzes. Tickets are €17.50 for adults and €8.50 for children. The museum also provides genealogy consultations, allowing you to trace your roots with trained professionals, starting at €55.
Galway City Museum
The Galway City Museum has three floors of galleries with a range of exhibitions exploring themes of archaeology, history, and sea science, with a particular focus on the county’s ties to the roaring seas and fishing tales unique to the Wild Atlantic Way. Admission is free, and the museum has added a range of innovative exhibitions to the list, such as Keepsakes, which showcases the stories of migrants and refugees in the Galway community through the keepsakes they hold dear.
Seamus Heaney HomePlace
HomePlace is dedicated to the life and work of Irish poet and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. Situated in his hometown of Bellaghy, County Derry, the interactive museum covers his childhood years all the way to his death in 2013. It contains hundreds of artefacts, from his childhood school desk to his favourite boots and signature duffle coat. Visitors can expect personal stories and letters read by the voice of the poet himself. Tickets are €11.80 for adults and free for children.
Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI)
Immerse yourself in Ireland’s rich literary history by visiting the MoLI. Located near St Stephen’s Green, the museum lets you trace the history of literary legends, from our earliest storytelling traditions to our finest contemporary writers. It also contains the first copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses – a treasured artefact of the literary world. Tickets are €10 for adults and €8 for children.
The Medieval Museum Waterford
Ireland’s oldest city holds the key to the only medieval museum in the country. The Medieval Museum lies in the cultural area of Waterford known as the Viking Triangle and is home to artefacts like The Great Charter Roll of Waterford (1373) and Europe’s only complete set of mediaeval cloth-of-gold vestments. Tickets are €10 for adults and free for children.
The Butter Museum Cork
The butter-making business was one of the most profitable exports for Ireland, and in the 19th century, the Cork Butter Exchange was the largest exporter of butter in the world. Located on O’Connell Square, the museum guides you through the craft of traditional butter making, from the international Butter Exchange to the operations of the Kerrygold company today. Tickets are €5 for adults and €2 for children.
The Hunt Museum Limerick
Limerick’s Hunt Museum contains a collection of artefacts bequeathed by the historians and antiquarians John and Gertrude Hunt. Located in the Georgian Custom House Building, the museum holds antiquities and artworks by notable figures such as Jack B. Yeats, Picasso, Renoir, and Irish fashion designer Sybil Connolly. Tickets are €10 for adults and free for children.
The Chester Beatty Museum
Located within the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Museum was once the private library of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, an American collector and philanthropist of the 20th century. During his lifetime, he collected thousands of manuscripts, art prints, and books from Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond, which are now housed in the museum. Visitors are greeted by permanent displays, guided tours, and exhibitions that celebrate cultural diversity. Entry to the museum is free, while guided tours take place every Wednesday at 5.30 pm, Saturday at 11.00 am, and Sunday at 3.00 pm, and must be booked in advance online.
Main image: The Medieval Museum Waterford by Noel Browne, Fáilte Ireland