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Permanent exhibition

Down to Earth - Exploring Ireland's Geology

Free admission

Mineral: sulphur crystals

Down to Earth, Exploring Ireland's Geology is an exhibition on the geology of Ireland that tells the story of how scientists have developed their understanding of our planet over the last 175 years.

Originally scheduled for opening in November 2020, the exhibition was developed by the National Museum of Ireland in partnership with with Geological Survey Ireland to celebrate the latter’s 175th anniversary. The exhibition will engage audiences with the long and proud history of geology in Ireland, explore how geology is relevant to everyday life, demonstrate the central role both rock and minerals play in how we interact with the world and inform visitors about the effects of climate change.

The history of exploring Ireland’s mineral wealth started in the 1700s and the excavations from these explorations formed the founding collections of what is now the National Museum of Ireland. The museum itself is the holder of a vast geological collection yet little of it has been seen by Museum audiences in over fifty years. This partnership with Geological Survey Ireland is bringing these precious samples back into public display and includes real mineral specimens collected in nineteenth-century Ireland and observed through the lens of modern science.

The exhibition itself is centred on a large floor map of Ireland, showing the variety of rocks and other deposits that determine our landscape and how in turn this dictates everything from potential construction materials to the properties of our drinking water. Visitors can even travel over the ocean from a GSI Research Vessel’s deck to see how the seabed is mapped, discovering shipwrecks and the edges of our continent.

The exhibition also contains many objects from our everyday lives that have a very specific and meaningful link to geology. Visitors will be able to find out first-hand about the various materials from the earth that go into the construction of the daily products that we take for granted.

Visitors will also have an opportunity to understand better the various hazards like rising sea levels, intense and frequent storms, earthquakes and water shortages, many of which are responses to the effects of climate change that we already see in Ireland. Modern geology is focused on understanding natural processes and resources, and visitors will find out about new ways in which we must manage for future needs and address these hazards caused by climate change.



Down to Earth - Exploring Ireland's Geology is located at:
Collins Barracks ,
Benburb St,
Dublin 7
D07 XKV4

Down to Earth, Exploring Ireland's Geology is an exhibition on the geology of Ireland that tells the story of how scientists have developed their understanding of our planet over the last 175 years. No special booking required, make sure to get your general ticket for Collins Barracks here.

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Decorative Arts & History

Collins Barracks ,
Benburb St,
Dublin 7,
D07 XKV4

+353 1 677 7444