The Bottom Line
You might be forgiven should you forget that Dublin was a medieval city once - there are scarce remains of this period and the middle ages tend to be interpreted as successive invasions by Vikings and Anglo-Normans. Dublinia attempts to set the record straight - with success. The main exhibition concentrates on Dublin between the 11th century and the Reformation. An added bonus is the "Viking World" that has been grafted onto it (albeit breaking the chronology). Part of the exhibition is "hands on", part is scientific - both serious students and kids will love it.
- Fascinating glimpse into Dublin's (and Ireland's) past
- Full-size reconstructions let you walk through Dublin in the middle ages.
- Get a bird's eye view with the scale model of Dublin City (a few hundred years ago).
- Exhibition on the "Viking World" has added further value.
- Multilingual commentary available.
- Can get crowded during tourist season.
- Exhibition was created by the Medieval Trust in the rooms of the disused Synod Hall.
- Located in the heart of Viking and Medieval Dublin it recreates the past with life-sized and scale scenes.
- Archaeological finds from the Wood Quay excavations are on show in a special museum section.
- A combined entry ticket for Dublinia and Christ Church Cathedral is available.
- Curious footnote: the exhibition is sometimes mis-spelled "Dvblinia" due to a medieval typeface used by the owners.
Guide Review - Dublinia and the Viking World (Dublin City)
Always a favourite with the younger visitors is the guy in the stocks ... you get a few balls and if you hit him on the nose he'll confess. Not politically correct. But a daily part of life in those less enlightened days. And still great fun. Kids will also love to discover the merchant's cat, to see the plague's dead being carted away and witness Lambert Simnel being carried in triumph. After all everybody wants to be king.
If your offspring gets too boisterous at this point you might remind them that Simnel ended as a menial servant in a kitchen. And then you can try to sell them as slaves - shackles are provided in the Viking market.
So is Dublinia a children's attraction? Yes, but not only. Anybody interested in medieval life will enjoy the life-size recreations of Dublin. But they might spend more time at the scale model of Dublin. Or in the museum room, featuring real finds from the surrounding areas.
Serious students of Dublin's past should also look beyond the exhibition - it is placed in the Synod Hall, a neo-gothic extravaganza linked by a bridge to Christ Church Cathedral. Parts of the building are visible, look out especially for the splendid roof above the "Viking World".
This lively and kids-friendly exhibition is the perfect accompaniment to the more sombre Viking and medieval displays in the National Museum ... but make a point of seeing those too (they are free to visit).