How I Know Clay Must REALLY Love Me
12/31/05 - 1/10/06
Update: All new posts can be found at http://thewanderingmind.net.
As a self-admitted nerd, I LOVE museums, like more than any person should love museums. My idea of a good time is a vast museum with lots of detailed plaques to read. And of course, I am the person who reads Every. Single. Word. My family just loved taking vacations with me! And everyone knows that if you do not see every single exhibit, you have not really been to the museum. So, being newly married, it was important to me to thoroughly test our young marriage by dragging Clay through multiple museums during our honeymoon. Nothing says romance like ancient artifacts and dead animals. I am sure that Clay secretly finds my love of museums sexy, right? Right?
The following is a brief review of the museums we visited while in Dublin:
- National Museum: The National Museum of Archaeology (often just referred to as the National Museum) covers the history of Ireland and contains the largest collection of Irish artifacts in the world. Open since 1890, the museum is housed in a gorgeous building designed specifically to display centuries of artifacts found throughout Ireland. This museum made such an impression on me the first time I was in Ireland, that I could not wait to go back during our honeymoon. Permanent exhibitions include treasures from throughout Ireland’s history, a vast collection of Irish gold, artifacts from prehistoric Ireland through medieval Ireland, and even exhibits featuring items from ancient Egypt, Cyprus, and the Roman world. Housed in the same building is the Museum of Decorative Arts & History, which, among other things, covers Ireland’s more recent history. The most memorable exhibition for me was The Easter Rising: Understanding 1916 – it was both educational and moving. The National Museum is a truly fascinating place with something to interest everyone and should be a stop on any trip to Dublin. And best of all, admission is free.
- National Museum of Natural History: Also part of the National Museum of Ireland, but housed in a separate, yet equally astounding building, was the Museum of Natural History. This was definitely Clay’s favorite museum. It housed zoological collections from all over the world, although the Irish collection was especially interesting and unique. The museum recently underwent a major renovation, including the addition of some interactive exhibits, which would be especially appealing to children. This museum is also free to visit.
- Dublinia: The final museum we visited while in Dublin was Dublinia. This museum was specifically devoted to Viking and Medieval Ireland. This museum was clearly designed to be an interactive experience, offering the opportunity to do things like try on Viking clothing, experience first hand what a Viking house would have been like, and visit a medieval fair. Although at times the exhibits could border on cheesy, it would definitely be a fun place for kids and even as an adult I enjoyed the immersive aspect of Dublinia. A visit to Dublinia is also a great time to explore Christchurch Cathedral, with its fascinating medieval crypt, because you can purchase a discounted combination ticket to the adjacent sites.
Of course, there is never enough time to see and do everything I would like, so these are a few of the spots on my “next time” list:
- National Gallery: This museum houses a permanent collection of European and Irish art from the 13th through mid-20th centuries. Irish art is, unsurprisingly, the focus, so the National Gallery contains the most extensive collection of Irish art in the world. There are also regularly rotating exhibitions of outside collections. I would love to while away a few hours here, but I am not quite sure I will be able to convince Clay to join me.
- Dublin Writers Museum: This would be another spot that could be difficult to get Clay to visit, but I think it sounds absolutely lovely. As you can probably tell by the name, the museum presents information and collections of items related to centuries of Irish literature.
- Guinness Storehouse: I would probably have a much easier time getting Clay to visit the Guinness Storehouse than the previous two museums. Some would question how we managed to miss this attraction during our honeymoon, given that it is one of the top attractions in Ireland, but somehow we did. A visit to the storehouse includes a self-guided tour of the storehouse (but not the actual brewery), information about the history and creation of Guinness, and of course the option of visiting their retail store. The onsite restaurants and bar cannot be visited without purchasing a ticket to the storehouse, but of course no visit would be complete without at least having a pint!
There are so many wonderful things to see and do while in Dublin, not the least of which are the amazing museums. Yes, I realize I enjoy museums more than the average person, but Dublin truly has something for any interest, age, or itinerary.