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Christmas activity trails, ancient traditions, outer space and creative crafts

There are lots of reason to visit the museum this Christmas with a full programme of festive events to keep all of the family entertained 


(Image: A winter scene from the Museum of Natural History)

The National Museum of Ireland has a full and diverse programme of free events taking place across four sites to keep all of the family busy and entertained throughout the festive season.  From activity trails to ancient traditions, outer space and creative crafts, here are 10 great reasons to visit your National Museum of Ireland this Christmas.

1. Christmas Medieval pilgrimage

National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

2 - 4.30pm, Sunday, December 3

Go on a Christmas Medieval pilgrimage with living history group Claíomh. Travel through the Viking and Medieval Ireland exhibitions and meet Vikings, craftsmen, warriors and pilgrims along the way. Suitable for families. No booking required.


2. Christmas Open Day

National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7

2 - 5pm, Sunday, December 10

Enjoy an open day of festive fun at Collins Barracks, with Christmas carols, trails, storytelling and talks, including a talk on festive food, by food historian Regina Sexton. Visitors can also view an exhibition of artworks by local artists from the Henrietta Adult Community Education (HACE) and the Active Retirement Association Phibsboro. Suitable for all ages. No booking required. 


3. Carol singing

National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

1 - 2.30pm, Friday, December 15

Get in the Christmas spirit with a carol singing session by the Foxford National School Band in the museum galleries. Enjoy all of the favourites with ‘Frosty the Snowman’, ‘Silent Night’ and many more. No booking required. Suitable for all ages.


4. Christmas exhibition

National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7

During museum opening hours, December 1 - 31

Discover some of the museum’s finest artefacts at this Christmas exhibition, suitable for all ages.


5. Get the Goose!

National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar

During museum opening hours, December 15 – January 7

The Christmas goose has gone missing at the Museum of Country Life. Can you help find him in the exhibition galleries? Pick up a free family activity trail at reception and see if you can solve the Christmas puzzle. Free self-guided activity.


6. Oh Christmas Tree

National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

2.30 - 4pm, Sunday, December 17

Drop into the Learning Resource Room to make a decoration inspired by the museum collections. Help decorate the museum’s Christmas tree and make a decoration to bring home as well. No booking required. Suitable for families.


7. Christmas crafts

National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo

2 - 4pm, Saturday - Sunday, December 16 - 17

Get crafty and creative, making Christmas decorations with artist Breda Burns. Enjoy some other Christmas themed activities in the galleries throughout this festive fun weekend such as Christmas card colouring, a Christmas film in the AV Theatre, and choral music in the galleries. Drop-in activity. No booking required.


8. Winter Solstice tour

National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

1pm and 3pm, Thursday, December 21

Join archaeologist Siobhán Rheinisch for a fascinating tour of the Prehistoric Ireland Exhibition to explore how ancient people marked Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Booking required. Find out more.


9. Space Rocks

National Museum of Ireland - Natural History, Merrion Street, Dublin 2

11am - 1pm, Saturday, December 30

Enjoy a museum activity that is out of this world this Christmas. Get up close to a real meteorite in the Discovery Zone. Feel how heavy it is and get an up close look at its crystal structure. Drop-in activity. No booking required. Suitable for children aged eight years plus.


10. Armagh Rhymers

National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7

2 - 3.30pm, Tuesday, January 2

Take part in an annual tradition dating back 2,500 years with the Armagh Rhymers - one of Ireland’s most celebrated folk theatre ensembles. This entertaining group sing, act, play music, dance and tell stories, dressed in costume and beautifully crafted masks of flax, willow and straw. Suitable for all ages.

Christmas and New Year opening hours

Browse all upcoming events at the National Museum of Ireland