How old are the objects in the Museum’s Irish country furniture collection?

The vernacular furniture tradition was established fairly late in the 18th Century in Ireland, when a new class of prosperous farmer emerged. Very little survives from earlier times. The furniture in the Museum’s collection generally dates from the mid-19th to the early 20th Centuries.

What types of wood were used to make Irish country furniture?

Irish country furniture from this period is usually made from pine. It became popular as a cheap, durable and easily crafted wood, and was therefore more accessible to the rural population. Painting pine furniture was a common practice; some were painted up to twice a year for both decorative and hygiene purposes. Older pieces often have many layers of paint obscuring the pine.

How did the National Museum of Ireland form its furniture collection?

Some items were collected by the Irish Folklore Commission in the 1930s, but most of it was acquired during the house “clearances” in the 1960s. Many more pieces were acquired from private collectors from the 1970s to the 1990s.

What parts of Ireland does the furniture come from?

The majority of the collection comes from the provinces of Munster and to a lesser extent Leinster.   

What is the National Museum of Ireland interested in collecting in the future?

The Museum is actively looking for items of furniture that date from the 18th and early 19th Centuries. We would also like to collect furniture from the provinces of Munster and Connacht; modern everyday furniture from the 1920s; and children’s furniture.

In this Collection
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