Prehistoric Ireland

Discover the archaeology of Ireland's earliest people on this chronological journey which takes you from the Mesolithic to the Late Bronze Age.

On this page, you can find out what you can do at the Museum, in the classroom and online

Important information

All groups who are coming to the Museum must book their visit with the Bookings Office.

Prehistoric Ireland Tour

On this tour you can:

  • Discover how people in Mesolithic Ireland caught their fish with our 9,000 year old fish-trap
  • Examine some of the earliest art in Ireland with the mysterious carvings on our Neolithic passage tomb
  • Compare Neolithic and Bronze Age burial techniques
  • Hear how our first metalworkers turned gold from the soil into stunning neck ornaments shaped like half moons
  • Learn how experts discovered which type of shield was best for prehistoric battle through Experimental Archaeology

Key Curriculum Strands

SESE History

  • How we find out about the past
  • The work of the historian
  • Our roots in ancient civilization
  • Time and chronology
  • Using evidence
  • Technology and innovation
  • Continuity and change over time
  • Life, society, work and culture in the past

Group with Mesolithic fish-trapOn request, this tour can include a hands-on session with a replica Mesolithic fish-trap and replica prehistoric pottery.

Maximum 30 per group. Duration 50 minutes.



Tours and workshops should be booked at least two weeks in advance, via the Bookings Office.

To make the most of your visit, we recommend that you plan activities for your students to complete.

In The Classroom

Here are some suggested follow up activities:
Create your own versions of our decorated prehistoric pots with air-drying clay using Neolithic pinch-pot and coil-building techniques.
Gather a selection of shapes from Neolithic passage tomb art and examine them. Divide the class into groups and debate what the different meanings might be.
Create a timeline using drawings inspired by your Museum visit, such as Mesolithic arrowheads, Bronze Age lunulae or shields. Add to this timeline as more topics are covered.

Useful link: Archaeology in the ClassroomLinks to external website


We are continually improving and adding to our online resourses.

Looking for information on exhibitions and collections?

Take a look around:

  • Prehistoric Ireland Exhibition
  • Bronze Age Gold Collection
  • Museum Highlights
  • A History of Ireland in 100 Objects

Looking for a particular object? Try our Artefacts Search

Information on the Mesolithic Clowanstown Fish-Trap:

Fishtraps article  (1.07 MB, Adobe PDF)

Seanda article on fish traps  (2.08 MB, Adobe PDF)