The Best Irish Museums And Historical Places

If you are interested in history, then Ireland is the place to be. The number of Irish museums and historical places of interest is astounding, offering a fascinating insight into the history of the country. No matter what county you visit, there are many places, buildings and historical sites to visit. The best Irish museums and historical places are the ones you have time to get to – they all, big or small, are well worth the trip.

With 4 exhibits housed in 4 separate locations, the National Museum of Ireland provides visitors with an array of over 4 million artefacts to view. Opened in 1877, the different locations now house exhibits covering the decorative arts, in Collins Barracks, as well as two other exhibits in Dublin city itself. The fourth exhibit traces Ireland’s country life, and is located in County Mayo.

No matter which city you visit in Ireland, there will be a museum exhibiting artefacts found in the county providing a peak into the history of the area. Ulster, Cork and Galway have super museums, and the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre in Ulster is worth a visit too. In Dublin you will find a Toy Museum and Transport Museum, as well as Dublinia, a Viking and medieval history exhibit that is quite different to the usual museum visit.

There are about 83 castles in Ireland, featuring prominently on the itinerary for visitors wanting to see historical places in Ireland. Most of the castles were built between the 13th and 16th centuries, each with its own history and legends. Limerick Castle is of course home to the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that kissing the stone will give the kisser the ‘gift of the gab’, or the power of persuasion. Dublin Castle is now the seat of Irish Government, but was once the site of King John of England’s fortress, built around 1230. The Bedford Tower is the centrepiece of this building, which was built in 1761. Grange Castle in County Kildare boasts a 15th century tower house.

Religious sites to visit in Ireland include St Patrick’s Cathedral, where the present building dates from 1220, although the first church built on the site dates back to 1191. Ennis Friary, Glendalough, a sixth century monastery, St Colman’s Cathedral and many other magnificent churches and cathedrals are a must-see. Of equal interest are the many smaller churches in villages on the routes between towns. The magnificent architecture of these buildings, the beautiful interiors and fascinating history will interest most travellers to Ireland. Belfast City Hall, built in 1898, is another example of Irish architecture that should not be missed, with its classical Renaissance style exterior and distinctive green domes, the main one about 53 metres across.

Before you leave the Irish museums and historical places behind, be sure to visit some of the ancient sites dating back thousands of years. Megalithic passage tombs, though to have been built 5000 years ago, can be found at Fourknocks and Newgrange with its unexplained celtic spirals on the surface. If you manage to see a third of the Irish museums and historical places in a month, you will be fortunate. This beautiful country has a rich and fascinating heritage that will take months to fully explore.

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