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Reopening FAQs

FAQs for Natural History Reopening

When will you be re-opening?
We are re-opening the ground floor of NMI-Natural History on Tuesday 2nd August 2022 at 10am. 

Is the Museum fully re-opening? / What can I see?
We have reopened the ground floor only of the museum and you’ll be able to see the Irish Animals, including our iconic Giant Irish Deer, a selection of our Blaschka glass models and the Wonder Cabinet, with its hands on display for inquisitive young minds.
Further information can be found here

Do I need to pre-book a ticket to visit NMI-Natural History?
Individuals, families and small social groups will no longer need to book a ticket for your visit. Admission will be based on availability at the door. If you have a particular access requirement, please email us in advance at
All groups need to book their visit in advance, please see below.

How much is it to enter?
Entrance to the museum is free, but if you would like to support our work, you can make a donation online or when you visit.
How long will my visit take?
Your visit should take approximately 45 minutes. Due to the limited capacity and high demand, group visits are scheduled for a duration of 45minutes.
Can groups visit?
Groups that wish to visit must contact the Bookings Office at least a week in advance to arrange their visit, please contact Due to the reduced capacity, the maximum group size is 35 (including teachers/supervisors). Due to visitor volumes at weekends, we’re unable to facilitate group visits at the NMI – Natural History on Saturdays or Sundays.

Groups can visit our other Dublin sites at NMI – Decorative Arts and History at Collins Barracks and NMI – Archaeology at Kildare Street or our NMI – Country Life site in Turlough Park, Co. Mayo.
Can I have a tour for my class?
We have some curriculum-linked tours and workshops available for primary & post-primary schools, please visit the Engage And Learn | Natural History pages of our website for more information. Please be aware that these do tend to book up very quickly. You can also tour the building virtually on our website.
What is there for families to do?
We have activity sheets for younger visitors to enjoy, including the trail ‘Busy Bees’ and ‘My Favourite Animal’. You can pick up a copy at our reception area. Don’t Forget Your Pencil! You can find out more about events for families by checking out the event listings on the Events Section.
Can I touch any of the displays?
Most of our displays are very fragile and should not be touched, but our Wonder Cabinet has some specially selected objects that you can touch, from the softest fur to a piece of Giant Deer fossil over 10,000 years old. You find more information here.
Why is only the ground floor open?
The rest of the Museum is a building site, enabling investigative work on the roof. The Office of Public Works (OPW) have built a roof access platform underneath the glass ceiling to investigate the roof and understand the structure of the building, which is over 160 years old. The work needed to fix this Victorian museum will take some time and is part of a larger-scale refurbishment project of the entire building, which is planned under the National Development Plan. You can visit the first floor online.
Why were you shut for so long and why can’t we see the animals upstairs?
The work we have been carrying out over the last two years has been to enable a bespoke platform to be inserted into the building just below the roof. This will enable investigative roof works to occur. Our Natural History Team spent almost a year carefully packing and moving over twenty thousand specimens, including our whale skeletons and Spotticus the giraffe, from the upper galleries and first floor, so they would be safe while the building phase of the work took place. That building phase lasted until the end of June 2022 and since then we have been working to get the ground floor ready to reopen.
Find out more on our Tales of the Decant webpage, where you can hear about the work that took place behind the scenes.
When will the first floor be open again?
The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History was built in 1856 and has changed very little in the last 166 years. The building is showing its age and work is now underway to address some of the problems – in particular the roof. This work will take some time. We will be keeping our visitors updated on the progress of this exciting project.
Is the Museum now fully wheelchair accessible?
The ground floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible. We will be making the first floor of the museum accessible as part of our re-development project.
Is sketching permitted in the galleries?
Yes. We are delighted to see people sketching our specimens.
Be mindful of the view of other visitors, any groups that wish to arrange a sketching visit must contact the Bookings Office to in advance. Due to the limited capacity and high demand, all visits, including sketching visits are limited to 45minutes in duration.
Is photography permitted in the galleries?
Yes, we encourage photography but we don’t have space for tripods and please don’t use flash photography.
Are there dinosaurs?
When the dinosaurs were alive, Ireland was under the ocean, so there are almost no dinosaur fossils found in Ireland and we don’t have any dinosaur fossils on display. However, we do have a lot of birds on display, from tiny wrens to huge eagles, and they are all the modern descendants of the dinosaurs. We do also have some fossils on display in the Irish Room, like our iconic Giant Irish Deer.
How do I learn about upcoming onsite and online events and tours?
To discover upcoming onsite and online events and tours for the public, including families and adults, please check the Events Section.

Teachers, check out the online schools' programmes and updates for site visits.

To keep up to date and be one of the first to know about forthcoming events sign up to the newsletter here.
Why is the basking shark still falling apart?
While we were closed, our work was focussed on moving over twenty thousand objects from the upper floors of the Museum. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to conserve some of our historic specimens like the basking shark, which will need specialist repairs. If you would like to help us in funding this kind of work, please visit our donations page.
Is there anywhere we can have lunch? Is there a café?
We don’t have a café in the museum but there are lots of local cafés near the museum.
Is there a baby change facility on-site?
Yes, there is a baby change facility in the accessible toilet beside the ground floor reception area.
Is there anywhere I can leave my pram/buggy?
The ground floor is fully accessible: prams and buggies can be brought along with you on your visit.
Is the shop open?
The shop is temporarily closed but you can support the work of the Museum and purchase Natural History themed products and books on our online shop.
How can I support the re-development project?
Please leave a donation at the donation boxes in the museum or online.
Your donation supports our work.
I enjoyed my visit: How do I show my appreciation?
Please leave a review on trip advisor or via our social media platforms. You can also email
You can also leave a donation.
I have a further question which is not covered by the above, who do I contact?
Please send an email to

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Natural History

Natural History,
Merrion Street,
Dublin 2,
D02 F627

+353 1 677 7444