SHAMROCK
MUSEUMS
For a number of years I have been trying to gain acceptance for the view that every museum should be judged as a package. Its collections are certainly important and so, too, are the skill and care with which it looks after and displays them. Equally important, however, is its treatment of the public, the attention it pays to the physical comfort of its visitors. Staff should not be heard quarrelling, galleries should not be dirty and untidy, captions and explanatory texts should not be faded and ill-written. The visitor, in short, should be made to feel wanted, welcome and important. Many small museums match up to these standards very well, many large ones, alas, very badly. Excellence has nothing to do with size.

Kenneth Hudson
The Irish Museums Guide 1983

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You're very welcome to the Island Ireland directory for Irish museums... Irish art, history, folk culture, science, heritage and more.
GUIDES TO IRISH MUSEUMS
Entertainment Ireland provides an excellent guide to current Irish museum exhibits and events. Just click on 'Museums' in the navigation bar and you'll find a great list of places to visit, organised by county The site is well-maintained and easy to navigate. Highly recommended.
Heritage Ireland is a site with lots of photos and information on places to visit... castles, museums, national parks, etc. The A-Z shows a thumbnail photo of sites all over the country. If something catches your eye, you can view other photos, find out opening times, etc.
The National Trust maintains a number of properties in Northern Ireland that are open to the public. This site provides a very organised description of each and would certainly help in planning an interesting outing, perhaps to the Crown Liquor Saloon or the Wellbrook Beetling Mill...
Drs. Martin H. Evans and Janet West maintain the Evans-West Lists of Nautical Museums, a list of naval and maritime museums in Britain, Ireland and their islands. Ports, ships, lighthouses and more.
The Industrial Heritage Society of Ireland site provides a simple listing of Irish industrial sites open for visits.
HISTORY & FOLK CULTURE
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in County Down includes an open air museum and indoor galleries. Learn about rural life and folk culture, and old ways of transportation, including a special exhibit on the Titanic, which was, of course, built in the great shipyards of Belfast.
The National 1798 Visitor Centre near Vinegar Hill in Enniscorthy, County Wexford provides a good history of the 1798 Rebellion... the leaders, weapons, flags, ballads and songs, and more. Very nicely done.
The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, County Tyrone, is an outdoor museum devoted to telling the story of emigration from Ulster to America during the 17th and 18th centuries. Log cabins, Pennsylvania bank barns, and an emigrant sailing ship in the middle of Tyrone?-- this museum brings the story of Scots Irish migration to America alive, with character guides, craft demonstrations and special events during the year (Appalachian & Bluegrass Festival, storytelling, Christmas mummers, an Irish rare breeds show and more.) Extensive school programs and The Centre for Migration Studies make this a unique educational facility.
Muckross House, set in the midst of Killarney National Park, County Kerry, is a wonderful outing. A manor home, lovely gardens, craft workshops, traditional farming exhibits, and jaunting car rides through gorgeous scenery.
The Irish National Heritage Park in County Wexford is an authentic recreation of homesteads, farm dwellings and places of ritual over 9000 years of Ireland's heritage. Ringforts, Fulacht Fiadh, crannogs, Viking houses and more...
Strokestown Park House and the Irish Famine Museum (County Roscommon) are devoted to telling the story of the devastating Irish Famine of the mid 19th century.
Dartfield Horse Museum and Park (Loughrea, Co Galway) is a purpose built facility dedicated to telling the 5000 year old story of man's relationship with the horse. The museum charts the history of the horse and its use from the earliest times to the present day with live exhibits of some of the world's favourite breeds of horses, examples of farm machinery, carriages, harness and interesting artefacts from the horse world, as well as an art gallery and library.
Lullymore Heritage Park in County Kildare is developing indoor exhibitions, replica ancient dwellings, woodland and bogland walkways and theme gardens, all devoted to presenting the story of Ireland over the past 9500 years. Their unique location in the Bog of Allen makes for an interesting venue...
Between 1840 and 1950 over six million men, women and children emigrated from Ireland. Cobh: The Queenstown Story is a museum about that wave of emigration, including the story of Annie Moore, the first emigrant to be processed at Ellis Island when it opened in 1892. There's information too, on the Titanic, and the Lusitania, as well as the maritime history of Cork.
The Kennedy Homestead (New Ross, County Wexford) is the birthplace of US President John F. Kennedy's great-grandfather Patrick Kennedy. The Homestead celebrates the story of five generations of the Kennedy dynasty, and is still being farmed today by his descendants.
The National Maritime Museum is housed in the former Mariners’ Church in Dún Laoghaire...
The Irish-Jewish Museum (Dublin)
The Foynes Flying Boat Museum (The birthplace of "Irish coffee", County Limerick)
ART
The National Gallery of Ireland has a tidy website describing their collections and activities. The emphasis is on the sort of information that would be useful for planning a visit, such as upcoming lectures and exhibits, rather than on the art itself or the artists who created it. Some small images of paintings are included throughout the pages though, which give a good representation of the kinds of work the gallery holds in its collections.
In May 1991 the Royal Hospital Kilmainham became the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The museum takes a dynamic approach to exhibition, and the site lists locations all around the country where pieces from the collection are on view, and also describes the museum's ongoing education and community programmes.
Exhibits by both international and Irish photographers are sponsored by the Gallery of Photography in Dublin's Temple Bar area.
SCIENCE
Birr Castle Demesne in County Offaly is home to a magnificent 72 inch antique telescope, now operated on a daily basis. Exhibits on astronomy and photography indoors, and beautiful gardens outdoors, all in the grounds of the old castle.
The Armagh Planetarium site provides lots of information on observatory exhibits, public telescopes, star shows and more.
SPECIAL IRISH COLLECTIONS
The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin is home to one of the world's finest collections of early Islamic manuscripts and Indian and Oriental art. The website has a great aesthetic quality, and describes the museum's collections which include precious scrolls and papyri, including some of the earliest texts of the Bible. It includes an excellent set of related links, and also some background on Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, an American who became the first ever honorary Irish citizen in 1957. His amazing collection was bequeathed in trust to the Irish public, and in 1999 moved to new purpose-built premises in Dublin Castle. A national treasure.
The National Print Museum in Dublin has a very informative site with details of their interesting exhibit on the history and craft of printing.
The Hunt Museum in Limerick is home to an eclectic collection of archaeological objects and European decorative and fine arts. The site gives all the basic details.
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