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The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History

The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland located at the former Collins Barracks, Dublin 7.

The Museum is home to a wide range of objects, which include coins, weaponry, furniture, silver, ceramics and glassware; as well as examples of folklife and costume.

Collins Barracks is as steeped in history as the collections within. The barracks and central square are named after Michael Collins, the first Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Free State Army, who was killed in Co. Cork four months before the barracks was surrendered to the Free State Army. General Richard Mulcahy, who formally accepted the handover, immediately named the site after Collins

 In December 1988, the decision was taken by the government to close the barracks as a military installation. Plans were made  in September 1993 to develop the site as an extra venue for the National Museum of Ireland. This important decision ensured that the earliest purpose-built residential barracks on these islands was restored for Museum use. It also allowed for the display of collections that had been in storage since 1922.

 On 18 September 1997, the Inaugural Exhibitions were opened by the Minister for Arts, Heritage.

 The old barracks, which had billets, stables, a riding school, drilling grounds and firing ranges, is currently being transformed sympathetically into galleries for exhibitions, reserve collections, conservation laboratories, libraries and offices.


 The Museum’s collection reflects largely the trades, crafts and industries operating in Ireland over the past three centuries, it also includes arms and militaria from several centuries of conflict and material from other countries, which was acquired to introduce new ideas to an Irish audience.

 Included in the exhibition are The Great Seal of the Irish Free State (used to seal official documents of the Irish Free State by the Governor-General), a Chinese porcelain vase from about 1300 AD.  Etruscan vases, gauntlets worn by King William at Battle of the Boyne, a life belt and oar salvaged from the wreck of the RMS Lusitania and a pocket book carried by Wolfe Tone whilst imprisoned in the Barracks.


 Opening Hours:

 Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 2pm - 5pm
Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and Good Friday

 Admission is Free

 The Museum of  Decorative Art and History is approx 30min walk from the Castle Hotel.  Alternatively you can take the Luas from Abbey Street (Red Line) and it will leave you outside the museum.


National Museum of Ireland
Museum of Decorative Arts – Collins Barracks
Benburb Street
Dublin 7