Things to See & Do

Crafts and the Environment - Country Life National Museum of Ireland

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, 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

Traditional Costume of Aran Islanders at Museum of Country Life

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

Crafts and the Environment - Level B

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.

Working on the Land exhibition Museum of Country Life

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.

Around the Turlough Park Estate

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

*Some of our awards:

  • 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.newsLinks to external website
  • 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.ieLinks to external website

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