Things to See & Do
The award-winning* Museum of Country Life is
home to the National Folklife Collection. With exhibitions spread over four floors, the Museum gives its visitors a unique opportunity to see how the people of Ireland lived in the hundred years between the Great Famine and the end of the 1950s.
Interactive displays and screens, actual video footage of traditions we
are fast losing are featured alongside handcrafted harvest knots,
spinning wheels and boats, clothing and artefacts from the islands and
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 (pictured right), 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 (pictured right), 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 pictured right, and fishing pictured at the top of this page, 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.
Currently on display is Straw, Hay & Rushes (pictured right) showing the great ingenuity of people in using everyday materials to make objects for the house and farm.
A cabinet of curiosities is accompanied by a modern copy of a complete straw outfit which was donated to the National Museum in 1903.
Around the Turlough Park Estate
As well as the Museum Galleries, visitors can also explore: