10 MUST-SEE exhibits at the National Museum of IRELAND

The National Museum of Ireland has many great exhibits showcasing the best of Irish history, heritage, and culture.

10 must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland.

The National Museum of Ireland is located across Dublin and provides visitors with a distinctive and fantastic look into Irish history, heritage, and culture.

Whether your main area of interest is ancient Celtic art, modern Irish life, or the natural world, there is something for everyone to enjoy upon visiting the National Museum of Ireland in the Irish capital.

This article will list what we believe to be the top ten must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland that you need to check out on your next visit.

10. The Ardagh Chalice – an important piece of Celtic art

The Ardagh Chalice is an important piece of Celtic art.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

The Ardagh Chalice is undoubtedly one of the most important piece of Celtic art ever found in Ireland. This ornate silver and gold chalice dates back to the eighth century. Its primary use was to hold wine during religious ceremonies.

The archaeology branch of the National Museum in houses the Ardagh Chalice.

9. The Broighter Hoard – a magnificent hoard of Celtic-period gold objects

10 must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

The Broighter Hoard is a magnificent hoard of Celtic period gold objects comprised of a Broighter collar, a decorative boat, and a wide variety of jewellery items.

This is widely regarded as the most significant hoard of Celtic-period gold objects found in Europe.

8. The Lismore Crozier – a historically important wooden staff

The Lismore Crozier is a historically important wooden staff.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

The Lismore Crozier, which dates back to the 12th century and was discovered in the 19th century, is a wooden staff decorated with sheet bronze and a copper-alloy crook.

The crook is decorated on both sides with round studs of blue glass and red and white millefiori. While croziers such as this were mainly ornamental, they were sometimes used by bishops during important religious ceremonies.

7. St. Patrick’s Bell and Shrine – a possession which once belonged to St. Patrick

10 must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland.
Credit: Flickr/ Steven Zucker, Smarthistory co-founder

If you have ever wished to lay your eyes on a possession which once belonged to Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick, then a visit to the National Museum should be on your itinerary.

St. Patrick’s Bell and Shrine are still on display at the National Museum to this day. The shrine consists of bronze plates decorated with gold filigree panels and decorations including interlacing patterns, intermittent stone studs, and spirals.

6. The Cross of Cong – contains a fragment of the supposed ‘true cross’ used in the crucifixion of Jesus

The Cross of Cong contains a fragment of the supposed 'true cross' used in the crucifixion of Jesus.
Credit: Flickr/ Steven Zucker, Smarthistory co-founder

The Cross of Cong contains a fragment of the supposed ‘true cross’ used in the crucifixion of Jesus. The High King of Ireland, Turlough O’Connor, commissioned it at the time.

The Cross of Cong consists of an oak core encased in sheet brass and adorned with decoartive cast brass plates.

It has a highly decorated look with gold filigree, silver sheeting, gilding, niello and silver inlay, and glass and enamel settings.  

5. The Faddan More Psalter – the first historical Irish manuscript discovered in over 200 years

10 must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland.
Credit: Instagram/ @archaeologydataservice

The Faddan More Psalter is the first historical Irish manuscript discovered for over 200 years. Moreover, it is one of the most ancient manuscripts: it most likely dates back to the eighth century.

The book most likely came in five volumes and shows evidence of illumination (decoration with borders and illustration).

4. Loughnashade Trumpet – a horn which dates back from the first century

Loughnashade Trumpet dates back to the first century.
Credit: Instagram/ @ulster_history

Found perfectly preserved in a bog in 1794, the Loughnashade Bronze Horn was the only one out of four to survive the centuries.

The horn dates back to the first century and still stands today as a fine example of the excellent bronzeworking skills that the craftsmen of the time possessed.

3. Bog Bodies – bodies which are over 2000 years old

10 must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland.
Credit: Flickr/ Mark Healey

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As the name suggests, this exhibit displays four Iron Age bodies discovered in bogs throughout the country and that date back to somewhere between 200 and 400 BC. Thanks to the bogs, the bodies are remarkably well-preserved!

2. The Viking Age Ireland exhibit – provides visitors with a glimpse into the lives of the Vikings who settled in Ireland

The archaeology branch offers a glimpse at the loves of Vikings.
Credit: Flickr/ William Murphy

The Viking Age Ireland exhibit is located at the archaeology branch of the museum. Visitors can glimpse the lives of the Vikings who settled in Ireland between the eighth and 11th centuries.

The exhibit showcases the Vikings’ important impact on Irish society and culture and displays many interesting artefacts, such as weapons, tools, and jewellery.

1. The Tara Brooch – one of the finest examples of Irish metalwork from the early medieval period

10 must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland.
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

In first place on our list of what we believe to be the top ten must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland that you need to check out on your next visit is the Tara Brooch.

The Tara Brooch dates back to the eighth century and is made from copper, silver, and gold. The brooch is also decorated with beautifully intricate patterns and is considered one of the finest examples of Irish metalwork from the early medieval period.

That concludes our article on what we believe to be the top ten must-see exhibits at the National Museum of Ireland that you need to check out on your next visit.

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