The Bottom Line
- Well presented, eclectic collection of decorative arts and historical items, not all Irish.
- Several exhibitions catering for special interests.
- First comprehensive Irish collection featuring military history in fitting surroundings.
- Located "off the beaten track", though still within walking distance of city center.
- Photography not allowed.
- Part of the National Museums of Ireland, focus on Decorative Arts and History.
- Former barracks make excellently fitting surroundings for military displays.
- Eclectic collection even includes Samurai armor.
Guide Review - National Museum of Ireland (Collins Barracks, Dublin)
Upon entering the massive Collins Barracks courtyard, you will first have to identify the museum entrance on the left-hand side. From here you have access to four floors of exhibitions - ranging from "Irish Country Furniture" to coins, from silverware to clothing and from scientific instruments to "Irish Period Furniture". This eclectic mix is augmented by a glimpse into the Aladdin's Cave of storage, here you will find even Samurai armor ...
Two new exhibitions opened in 2006. After the exhibition "The Road to Freedom" was dismantled in Kildare Street, it has been partly resurrected as a display on the Easter Rising here. With good effect, the new exhibition is far more informative, definitely thought-provoking and less blatant hero-worship.
Parts of the old exhibition have also been relocated to the brand new display "Soldiers and Chiefs", the National Museum's stab at a military history collection. A successful stab. The story of Irish soldiers and warfare in Ireland from 1550 to modern days is told. The "Wild Geese" are included, as is the Irish participation in the American Civil War - not omitting the Irish fighting on the Confederate side. Exhibits include uniforms, memorabilia, weapons, up to and including a rare Landsverk tank, armored cars, planes and weapons used by the warring Lebanese and Palestinian fractions.
The museum now boasts two bookshops, a sizeable café and provides tours. A car park is available, but the easiest access is by using the LUAS tram.