Top 10 best free museums in Ireland you need to visit

Looking something fun to do in Ireland without spending a penny? Here are the best free museums in Ireland you need to visit.

While it might feel like everything has a price these days, there are tonnes of free museums in Ireland for you to explore. We’ve compiled a list of the top ten best free museums in Ireland you need to visit.

Whether you are visiting Ireland or are a current resident, museums are a great way to learn about our history and culture. The only barrier that seems to stop people from visiting museums is the admission cost. 

Luckily, there are lots of incredible museums in Ireland that don’t cost a penny. Below are the top ten best free museums in Ireland you need to visit. 

10. Country Life Museum, Co. Mayo – learn about life in rural Ireland

You need to visit the Country Life Museum in County Mayo.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland’s Country Life Museum has several exhibitions that can teach you about life in rural Ireland. In particular, the 1845: Memento Mori is one to see.

It consists of 1,845 handblown glass potatoes in remembrance of the Great Famine. There is also the Natural Environment exhibit that explores life in Ireland in 1850. 

Address: Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, F23 HY31

9. Galway City Museum, Co. Galway – enjoy free admission and associated events

Galway City Museum is one of the best free museums in Ireland.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

The Galway City Museum has a wide range of collections and exhibitions for visitors to explore and is one of the best free things to do in Galway.

Some of their notable collections include the World War I collection and their 1916 Rising, War of Independence, and Civil War collection.

As well as that, they also run regular free events, including talks and art classes for children for bonus fun. 

Address: Spanish Parade, Galway, H91 CV5P

8. Cork Public Museum, Co. Cork – take a leap back in time

Cork Public Museum allows visitors to take a leap back in time.

The Cork Public Museum has been around for 76 years and will allow you to jump back in time with its incredible collections.

Their current collection includes approximately 40,000 objects covering the political, cultural, and social history, and archaeology of Cork city and the county. 

Address: Fitzgerald Park, Mardyke, Cork, T12 V0AA

The Hugh Lane Gallery is one of the best free museums in Ireland.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Founded in 1908, Hugh Lane Gallery was the first known public gallery of modern art in the world.

The museum houses tonnes of art, from contemporary pieces to more modern works by European and Irish artists.  

Address: Charlemont House, Parnell Square N, Rotunda, Dublin, D01 F2X

Next on the list of best free museums in Ireland you need to visit is the National Gallery of Ireland.

This museum features famous European artists such as Monet, Picasso, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Irish artists, including Osborne, Hamilton, and Barry.

The museum also has an extensive collection by Jack B Yeats, W.B. Yeats’ brother, and John Butler Yeats, their father. 

Address: Merrion Square W, Dublin 2, D02 K303

5. Irish Museum of Modern (IMMA), Co. Dublin – great for lovers of all art forms

The IMMA is one of the best free museums in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Situated on 48 acres of beautiful land in the heart of Dublin 8, IMMA is housed on the extraordinary historical site of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

IMMA displays a wide range of artworks meaning there is something for each art lover to enjoy. 

Address: Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 FW31

The Luan Gallery is a visual feast.

Described as a visual feast for your eyes, Luan Gallery showcases work from fascinating artists from Ireland, the Midlands, and further afield.

The building itself is a modern piece of art with incredible views of the Shannon water just out the windows. Entry and one-to-one tours are completely free of charge. 

Address: Elliot Rd, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

3. The Chester Beatty Library, Co. Dublin – coined as best in Europe by Lonely Planet

The Chester Beatty Library is one of the best free museums in Ireland.

Situated on the beautiful grounds of Dublin Castle, The Chester Beatty Library houses an incredible collection of miniature paintings, rare books, costumes, 20,000 manuscripts, and tonnes of other historical artefacts. 

Address: Chester Beatty, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, D02 AD92

2. Ulster Museum, Co. Antrim – for a treasure trove of history

The Ulster Museum in Belfast is a treasure trove of history.
Credit: Tourism Northern Ireland

If you want to take a deep delve into the past when in Northern Ireland, then you need to visit the Ulster Museum in Belfast.

This fantastic free museum features numerous exhibitions suitable for all ages. Kids and adults alike could spend hours wandering the halls of this amazing spot.

Visiting the Ulster Museum is one of the best free things to do in Belfast. It has a lot of history, akin to that of the free museums in Berlin and even those of the best free museums in Paris.

Address: Botanic Gardens, Belfast BT9 5AB

1. Museum of Archaeology, Co. Dublin – for archaeology fiends

The Museum of Archaeology tops our list of best free museums in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Also a part of the National Museum of Ireland is the Museum of Archaeology. Undoubtedly one of the best free museums in Ireland you need to visit.

From Ancient Egyptian artefacts to Viking paraphernalia to Irish art, this museum has so much to see. You genuinely get lost in history and culture here. 

Address: Kildare St, Dublin 2

There you have it, the top ten best free museums in Ireland you need to visit.

Whether you want to learn about the history of Ireland or see creations by Irish artists, you’re covered. You won’t be disappointed with a visit to these spots; let us know what you think!

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