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Ardagh 150 Programme of Events and Projects

The Museum of Archaeology is running a series of events and projects to celebrate the discovery 150 years ago of the Ardagh Chalice. The hoard of objects includes four brooches, a plain bronze chalice, and one of the most iconic of Irish artefacts, a beautiful decorated silver chalice, which today we call the Ardagh Chalice. Made in the 8th century AD, they were buried in the 10th century near an ancient Ringfort at Reestra, in Ardagh, Co Limerick and were rediscovered in 1868.


Easter Lecture

The Derrynaflan Hoard 
Wednesday 28th March: 1-1:45pm

A lecture by Dr Michael Ryan, MRIA, Past-President of the Royal Irish Academy and former Director of the Chester Beatty Library, about one of the most spectacular artefacts from Early Christian Ireland. This talk will discuss how was the chalice made and for what purpose, and how does it relate to the other chalices of early medieval times?
Booking Required. Please book by emailing educationarch@museum.ie or calling 01 648 6334. Ages 14+

Autumn Lectures

Ardagh 150th Anniversary Lecture Series

Over a series of Wednesdays at lunchtime in the Autumn, the will be a number of talks discussing the discovery of the hoard in 1868, and the chalice itself, including the creation, as well as the artwork and metalworking techniques used to create the chalice. Speakers include Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Raghnall O Floinn and Art Historian Dr Niamh Whitfield. The dates of the lectures are, Wednesday 3rd October, Wednesday 10th October, Wednesday 17th October and Wednesday 24th October.
Further details will be posted on the Museum website in the coming months. Booking required

Public Tours and Family Events

A range of events will be held specifically for families relating to the Ardagh Chalice throughout the year. A special Open Day of events, on Saturday 6th October, the Museum will have a daylong schedule of events to join in for all ages, including re-enactment, art, handling replica artefacts, film showing and other activities.

Spring Guided Tours

Treasures of the National Museum

Take a tour of the iconic treasures in the National Museum, including the ‘Tara’ Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice. Tours are 45 minutes in duration.
No booking required. Places allocated on a first come basis. Wheelchair accessible. Ages 7+

  • Sunday 18th March           2.15pm & 3.30pm
  • Saturday 31st March        11 -11:45 am

Autumn Guided Tours

Ardagh 150th Anniversary Tours

There are a number of unique guided tours planned for September, October, November and December exploring Ireland's most famous and iconic object on display in the Treasury Exhibition; the Ardagh Chalice. Learn about the people of early medieval Ireland, the influence of the coming of Christianity to Ireland in the 5th century and how the Ardagh Chalice, among other fine metal objects, were made and designed.
No booking required. Places allocated on a first come basis. Wheelchair accessible. Ages 7+

  • Friday 14th September                     11.30am
  • Saturday 29th September                 2.30pm
  • Friday 12th October                         11.30am
  • Sunday 28th October                        2.30pm
  • Friday 9th November                       11.30am
  • Saturday 24th November                  2.30pm
  • Friday 14th December                      11.30am
  • Sunday 30th December                     2.30pm

Ardagh Colouring competition

For the month of August and September the Education and Outreach Department are running a colouring competition where you get a chance to design your ow Ardagh Chalice. To find out more about this competition and to download your colouring sheet, please click here 


Workshops and Tours for Schools

Primary School Workshops

For the academic term September to December 2018, primary school pupils can join in art workshops using the Museum’s ‘Giant Ardagh Chalices’, or join a storytelling workshops inspired by the stories of those who made, buried and rediscovered the chalice. Storytelling workshops are also available in Irish.

Primary School Activity Sheet Trail -The Treasury Trail

Teachers can also explore the Museum with an activity booklet which explores the artefacts in the The Treasury – Celtic and Early Christian Ireland exhibition including the Ardagh Chalice and ‘Tara’ Brooch. Also available in Irish.

Post-Primary Workshops and Tours

Transition year students can join a number of workshops, drama workshops, inspired by the stories of those who made, buried and rediscovered the chalice.  Storytelling workshops are also available in Irish. A regular programme of art history tours for Leaving Cert students will be held during the academic term September to December 2018. 

If you would like further information on our school's programme please see the full list of tours and workshops at Explore and Learn or contact the Museum's booking office at bookings@museum.ie or call us on 01-648 6453



Ardagh150 Early Medieval Metalworking Archaeology Experimental Archaeology Project (Ardagh150 EMMEA Project)

The Education and Outreach Department at NMI-Archaeology, are working with UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture on discovering more about artefacts associated with metal working techniques in Ireland during the 8th century AD, at the time of the creation of the Chalice. This experimental archaeology project with Brendan O'Neill, UCD School of Archaeology (CEAMC), will analyse some of the artefacts that were used in metal working in Ireland during the early medieval period and recreate some artefacts in the collection of the Museum. The project will produce objects for the Education and Outreach Department to use for teaching at the museum and will include public talks about the replication in the Autumn of 2018. 



Ardagh 150 Colouring Competition

Ardagh 150 Colouring Competition

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the finding of the Ardagh Chalice, take part in our colouring competition!