Exhibition Galleries

Visit Ireland's National Folklife Collection in the award-winning exhibition galleries


The National Folklife Collection is displayed across four floors of modern exhibition galleries at Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Admission is free. Floor plans are available, free of charge, in multiple languages from Reception. Before exploring the galleries, visitors can watch a short introductory film (20 minutes) in the Audio Visual Theatre.

The collection is arranged into themed exhibitions. Find out more about the National Folklife Collection.

Romanticism and Reality

This exhibition explores the often romanticised image of Ireland's rural past with the reality of life in the 19th and 20th centuries.  This section also introduces visitors to Folklife and Folklore. 

The Times

This exhibition explores the many political, economic and social changes from 1850 to 1950. 

Cycling the Country

By the 1930s, bicycles became the key mode of transport in every parish in Ireland, dramatically changing the social life of ordinary people. This display explores the history of the bicycle and developments in design. 

The Natural Environment

This exhibition looks at the influences of landscape and natural resources on the way of life in rural Ireland. All communities relied on the resources available in their immediate environment for self-sufficiency and survival. 

Straw, Hay and Rushes

This exhibition builds on the themes of The Natural Environment and focuses more closely on the ingenuity of those who could make something from nothing when money was scarce and natural materials were more plentiful and appreciated. 

Trades and Crafts

This section explores traditional trades and crafts in Ireland. Before the adoption of mass-produced items, most of the things people needed for their daily lives were made by hand, using locally available raw materials and skills handed down from one generation to the next.

Life in the Community

This exhibiton explores a year in the lives of our rural ancestors and looks at celebrations, festivals and seasonal markers such as St Brigid’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, May Day, Lúnasa, Samhain, Christmas, Christenings, First Communions, first day at school, weddings and wakes.

Working on Land and Water

This exhibition examines how farmers, fishermen and their families worked in tune with the seasons, toiling tirelessly to grow and gather food, collect fuel, and to feed and maintain themselves. 

Activities in the Home

This exhibition shows what life was like in the home. The family home had to be built, furnished and maintained. Here you can see how this was done.