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Record Breaking Visitor Numbers and New Exhibitions in 2011

The National Museum of Ireland: Celebrating record breaking visitor numbers in 2010 and announcing exciting new exhibitions for 2011

The National Museum of Ireland celebrated record breaking numbers in 2010 as 992,953 visitors passed through its four museum sites. This is just 7,047 short of 1 million to the four sites.

Dr. Pat Wallace, Director of the National Museum of Ireland said, “We are absolutely delighted with our visitor numbers in 2010. I am extremely proud to be in a position to say that after a almost decade of development and improvements at our four sites, the National Museum continues to appeal to a cross section of visitors and frequently features as Ireland’s top visitor attraction. To increase visitor numbers by over 200,000 since 2009, particularly in a recession proves, the National Museum of Ireland offers superb visitor experience. We feel we are fortunate to be in a position to offer a great experience with the added advantage of having Free Admission“.

Some of the major highlights in 2010 included the re-opening of our Natural History site in Merrion Street, where over ¼ million visitors came since the opening in April 2010; the launch of the Irish High Cross exhibition in Collins Barracks and the showing of the Cross of Cong at Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Dr. Wallace also welcomed the appointment of Mayo man, Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D. who was first to propose investment in the establishment of the Mayo branch of the National Museum in Castlebar (the only cultural institution outside of Dublin). This year will be the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Country Life branch of the National Museum in Castlebar at which we hope to welcome the Taoiseach to celebrate the success of the site.

Some other 2011 plans include:

Launch of the Psalter and Re-Opening of the Treasury, Kildare Street - June 2011

The Faddan More Psalter which is currently being conserved will go on display in the newly re-furbished Treasury in Kildare Street. The main focus will be on the objects themselves however information on the conservation of the objects will also be presented. The display will include the satchel and bag from Faddan More bog as well as a large satchel and a wooden vessel found on earlier occasions.

Later in the Summer, the “Asgard” yacht will go on public display in Collins Barracks. Since 2007, a major programme of conservation on the “Asgard” has been underway at the National Museum. The aims of the project are to conserve the “Asgard” and in the process save and secure as much surviving original material as possible while retaining the structural integrity of the vessel. Missing components will be replicated in original form. The ultimate aim of the project is to return the vessel to its form when first built and to display it in a purpose-built gallery.

The Art of History: Watercolours of Irish Town Life in the 1820s by Sampson Towgood Roch (1757-1847).

This exhibition features watercolours of town life in Ireland in the early nineteenth century will go on display at our Turlough Park site from June 2011. They give a rare pictorial insight into Irish life at that time – images of the time are rare. The images are accompanied by artifacts similar to those portrayed in the watercolours themselves. The exhibition is on loan from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

Féile na Tuaithe – Turlough Park 2011 21/22 May 2011

Féile na Tuaithe – Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. A free family festival celebrating country life & traditions. Now in its seventh year, Féile na Tuaithe will have a strong emphasis on crafts to coincide with the Year of the Craft, as well as a special area dedicated to the Year of the Honey Bee. The programme features a variety of craft demonstrations and workshops, children’s activities, music and face painting as well as a tented craft and food market. Over 25,000 people visited the event in last year. Féile na Tuaithe is a wonderful opportunity for families of all ages to come together and enjoy quality time while also learning of the many traditions which are only to be found in the Ireland of days gone by.

For further press information please contact:

Dublin sites: (Archaeology, Kildare Street; Natural History, Merrion Street; Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks;)

Maureen Gaule or Ann Daly,

Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

Tel: 01 – 6486429 / 01 - 6486457

E-Mail: Maureen or Ann


Mayo site:

Bernie Byron

Marketing Department, National Museum of Ireland

Tel: 094 903 1773



Notes to the Editor:

When analysing the 2010 total figures, the following factors need to be taken into account:

• There were 2 very bad bouts of snow (Jan. and Nov./Dec.) which hampered visitor attendance.

• The volcanic ash cloud in April also caused a severe decline in the number of tourists visiting the country.

• Tourism figures are down by 1 million when compared with 2009.

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