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Things to See & Do

With exhibitions spread over four floors, see how the people of rural Ireland lived in the hundred years between the Great Famine and the end of the 1950s.


The award-winning Museum of Country Life is home to the National Folklife Collection.

Interactive displays and screens, actual video footage of traditions we are fast losing are featured alongside handcrafted harvest knots, wickerwork, spinning wheels and boats, clothing and artefacts from the islands and hand operated machinery our grandparents used.

Here's a brief look at what's on each level...

Level A: Introduction

The entrance level (Level A) in the modern Museum Galleries gives an introduction to the National Museum's Folklife Collection and to the main themes of the other galleries.

It includes the traditional costume of the Aran Islanders, folklore objects, and black and white photographs depicting the Reality of people working close to the land and sea.

Level B: Crafts and the Environment

On Level B, visitors can explore the way of life in rural Ireland that was influenced by the Natural Environment and its resources. 

Visitors can also learn about The Times in which the ordinary people lived, during events such as the Land War and the 1916 Rising. The major historical events and occurrences throughout Ireland during the period from 1850 to 1950 certainly had an impact on the lives of ordinary people living in rural locations, particularly their relationship with the land. These events were often depicted in the materials that they possessed.

Level C: Crafts and the Community

The Crafts and the Community exhibition on Level C focuses on the objects relating to the various skills practiced in rural Ireland between 1850 and 1950.

It displays the methods, tools, and produce of trades in the community including the blacksmith, carpenter, thatcher, and cobbler. There is also a section on spinning and weaving.

There is a large variety of objects and tools on display that were used for working on the land and water, such farming, fishing and for activities in the home.

These types of everyday things brings you, the visitor, closer to the experiences of our Irish ancestors.

A section on this level is also devoted to many of the traditions, customs, and festivals that happen (or used to happen) throughout the calendar year.

Level D:  Temporary Gallery

This is a space dedicated to temporary exhibitions.

Around the Turlough Park Estate

As well as the Museum Galleries, visitors can also explore:

Turlough Park House
Turlough Park Gardens & Grounds

Some of our awards: 

Irish Architecture Award 2001: "A bold and dramatic modern building which enhances the existing house and site and creates a wonderful public facility." (Judge's citation) Read more about the Irish Architecture Award at www.irisharchitectureawards.ie.
Interpret Ireland Award 2002: "Altogether one feels a deep loss at vanished lives (so vanished) but also a huge gain in the meticulous and imaginative way in which these lives have been recorded in this excellent new museum.” (Judge's citation) Read more about the Intrepret Award in Castlebar.news
Sandford Award 2009 (and 2004): "Our getting the Award for a further five years is an international recognition of the quality of the education service provided by the Museum. In this instance, the National Museum is particularly proud of its Education staff and, indeed, all staff involved in the delivery of learning and enjoyment to the public.” (Tony Candon, Manager Keeper of the Museum of Country Life.) Read more about the Sandford Award at MayoToday.ie.
 

360° Exhibition Images - Country Life

360° Exhibition Images - Country Life

To give you an insider's view of the National Museum Ireland - Country Life.

Visitor Vox Pops

Visitor Vox Pops

Watch what visitors are saying about their visit to the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life...

Draw and Sketch in the Museum

Draw and Sketch in the Museum

Our Turlough Park site is a great source of inspiration for artists and designers.

Explore the Grounds

Explore the Grounds

The parkland around Turlough Park is dotted with interesting features such as round towers, a Victorian iron greenhouse and gardens.

Experience a Real Irish Festival

Experience a Real Irish Festival

The Life in the Community exhibition walks the visitor through a year in the life in traditional rural Ireland.

Attend a Tour or Event

Attend a Tour or Event

Check the What's On page for the latest events at Turlough Park.