Admittedly, even though I’m half Irish myself I still don’t know everything there is to know about Ireland, and neither do most Irish people! So whether you’re Irish or just joining Trinity for a year or four, it’s worth learning more about Irish culture and history, which is far more interesting than it may first appear. The beauty of this city is that most museums and galleries are free, so when you do decide to check them out, the day trip is easy on your pocket.
Below is a list of my favourite places to learn more about Ireland:
- Natural History Museum
Known in Dublin as ‘The Dead Zoo’, the Natural History Museum offers hours of endless amusement. Downstairs hosts the collection of Irish wildlife including insects and upstairs hosts the more exotic and worldly species, including some odd types of deer that may or not be accurate taxidermic representations of living animals. Highlights include the smiling hedgehog and the giant deer. The museum is free in, more information can be found at this link: http://www.museum.ie/en/intro/natural-history.aspx
- National History Museum
The National Museum has 3 main branches, one on Kildare St., one near Castlebar, Co. Mayo and one in Collins Barracks. The archaeology one is the one on Kildare St. and is closest to Trinity and is always a good venue for an educational day out. The Museum features artefacts from ancient Ireland including gold and stone work as well as temporary exhibitions that focus on anything from religious artefacts to boats. Also on exhibit are the ‘bog bodies’. Well known to Irish schoolchildren, these are the preserved bodies of people from ancient Ireland that have been found in bogs around the country and are eerily fascinating. Free in, more info: http://www.museum.ie/en/list/visit-us-overview-archaeology-ethnography.aspx
- Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)
The museum of modern art can be found on Military Rd near Heuston train station. It features the work of contemporary artists and currently features exhibitions on photography, sculpture work and collaborative art between Irish artists. There’s a lot to see and the museum itself is a beautiful building set in lovely grounds, ideal for a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Admission is free, more info: http://www.imma.ie/en/nav_14.htm
- Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens can be found in Glasnevin (take the 83 from town) and feature plants native to Ireland as well as some plants from further afield (check the greenhouses out). It’s a lovely spot for a picnic and a stroll and at the moment is featuring its annual Sculpture in Context exhibition, in which works of art are incorporated into the natural environment. Free in: http://www.botanicgardens.ie
- Irish Film Institute
For those of you who love film as much as I do, the Irish Film Institute is a beautiful and quirky cinema tucked away in temple bar. They feature home-grown Irish films as well as smaller indie productions that don’t tend to make it to larger cinemas. They also offer really good student deals and discounts on tickets throughout the year and host film festivals like the Horror festival once a year. For more info: http://www.ifi.ie
This is just a small selection of places to go, but try find as many as possible yourself, whether that’s small, tucked away museums or temporary events!
Sally is a student ambassador with the Trinity Global Room.