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Onsite Guided Tour: The History of Food and Drink

Tour at a glance

Level: 3rd to 6th class
Group size: 15
Location: Curator's Choice, Out of Storage, Irish Silver Exhibition, Reconstructed Rooms: Four Centuries of Furnishing
Duration: 45 minutes
Available: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 
Booking: Please contact to book this session

This interactive tour focuses on the history of food, drink and dining in Ireland. Students will examine how people dined in the past, and how dining was used as a means of expressing yourself, your social status or even showing your political affiliation. This tour will give a flavour of the wealth of artefacts on display in the Museum that connect with food preparation and dining, and the economics of food and trades such as the sugar, tea and coffee trades.

"A tour is only as good as its guide. Today our guide made this tour with his deep knowledge and relaying of this information"
Teacher feedback.  


Curriculum links

SESE History

Working as a Historian
Time and chronology/Change and Continuity/Using evidence/emphaty/synthesis and communication

Local studies
Homes/Feasts and festivals in the past

Change and Continuity
Food and farming

Life, Society, Work and Culture in the Past
Life in mediaeval towns and countryside in Ireland and Europe/Life in the 18th centtury/Life in the 19th century/Language and culture in late 19th and early 20th century Ireland

Other curriculum links

  • Visual Art (Construction, Symbols, Design)

Learning outcomes

  • Developing an understanding of continuity and change over time through everyday artefacts relating to food and drink
  • Understanding of dining etiquette and practices in the past
  • Discovering how food and drink was seen as a sign of social status, and how dining practices varied from rich to poor. 
  • Learn about how food and drink was used to show political affiliation. 

Resources and suggestions

Before your visit

  • Visit the Museum in advance, if possible, to get familiar with the layout, key objects and key narrative
  • Plan a project around your visit. Students could research food, drink and dining in the past to have a flavour of the types of topics they will be discussing with their guide during the tour

After your visit

Ideas for post-visit activities:

  • Ask students to write a review of their museum visit
  • Ask students to design their own dream menu
  • Consider the value of museums as places to display objects that connect us with our history

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Benburb St,
Dublin 7,
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+353 1 677 7444