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Jeanie Johnson

The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History

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The Decorative Arts & History Museum is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland opened in 1997 at the former Collins Barracks.

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

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.

It also includes artefacts such as a Chinese porcelain vase from about 1300 AD, the Fonthill vase, 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, large medieval wooden sculptures and  delicate lace.

The Soldiers & Chiefs exhibition features military artefacts and memorabilia tracing Ireland's military history from 1550 to the present and includes a pocket book carried by Wolfe Tone whilst imprisoned in the Barracks. Original artefacts, such as the Stokes Tapestry, letters, replicas and interactives show how soldiering and war have affected the lives of Irish people over the centuries

Special exhibitions are mounted regularly, for example, one of Irish High Crosses.

The Museum also holds the Museum's administrative offices, a shop and a cafe.


Opening Hours:

Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm

Sunday: 2pm - 5pm

Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and Good Friday


Admission: Admission is Free


Directions: 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.


The National Museum of Ireland

Museum of Decorative Arts & History

Collins Barracks

Benburb Street

Dublin 7

The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History Map