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The National Museum of Ireland - Natural History Museum

The National Museum of Ireland - Natural History, sometimes called the Dead Zoo is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland, it is located on Merrion Street in Dublin 2.

The Museum houses galleries of animals from Ireland and overseas, also geological exhibits from a total collection of about 2 million scientific specimens.

The Natural History building was built in 1856 to house the Royal Dublin Society’s growing collections, which had expanded continually since the late 18th Century and was opened in 1857 by the famous Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone. The building is a ‘cabinet-style’ museum designed to showcase a wide-ranging and comprehensive zoological collection.

In April 2007 a stone staircase at the museum collapsed and the museum had to shut its doors but after huge restoration works that included the reinstatement of the grand stone staircase, it reopened to the public in 2011. There is now a ramp to the front door and a wheelchair accessible toilet, however little has changed with regards to the exhibition and the museum is often described as a ‘museum of a museum’, its 10,000 exhibits provide a glimpse of the natural world that has delighted generations of visitors for over a hundred years. Many of the taxidermy on show is over a century old and includes a tiger donated to the museum by King George V in 1913 and a polar bear donated by the famous explorer Captain Leopold McClintock.

Each floor is dedicated to a wide variety of animals, the ground floor is dedicated to Irish Animals such as badgers, foxes and hares, the first floor contains mammals from around the world and includes specimens of extinct species including a Dodo skeleton. The floors above display more primitive animals birds through reptiles and fish to invertebrates and microbes. On the upper floor is a scientific arrangement showing animals by taxonomic group.

The new Discovery Zone allows visitors to handle taxidermy and bones. You may open drawers to see what lurks inside and spend a relaxing moment in the Reading Area at first floor level.

Some of the exhibitions in the exhibitions department are; Mammals of the World, Mating Game, Steps in Evolution, Crystal Jellies, Irish Fauna, Birds of a Feather, Taxonomy Trail and Underwater Worlds.


Opening Hours:

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

Admission is Free

The Museum of  Natural History is approx 15min walk from the Castle Hotel.  Alternatively you can take the No. 7, 7A or 8 bus from O'Connell St and it will leave you outside the museum.


 The National Museum of Ireland
Museum of  Natural History
Merrion Street
Dublin 2