Often described as a ‘museum of a museum’, this important Victorian building dates to 1856 and was built to house the Royal
Dublin Society’s growing zoological collections, which had expanded continually since the late 18th century.
2. An Irish explorer
On your way into the Museum, meet the Irish explorer Thomas Heazle Parke, whose statue stands guard at the front of the building. In 1887, Parke was part of an 8,000 kilometre expedition across Africa, up the Congo, and through the Ituri rainforest, before reaching Lake Albert.
3. Giant Irish Deer
The giant Irish deer skeletons found at the entrance of the Museum are some of the most famous and distinctive animals on display here. One of the skeletons has an antler span of 3.5 metres.
4. Irish wildlife
See some animal families in the Irish wildlife display on the ground floor. The badger family is a firm favourite and is one of a series of very popular exhibits made by the Dublin taxidermy firm of Williams & Son., who produced ‘family groups’ of badgers, otters and pine martens.
5. The Wonder Cabinet
Get up close to a wide range of real and replica specimens at this new interactive zone in the Museum. Highlights include a Spotted Hyena jawbone fossil and a Peregrine Falcon.
Our fluid collections provide an important record of Irish biodiversity. One of our favourite specimens is the Eel choking on a Frog, which captures an unfortunate interaction between two protected Irish species.
8. Go on an activity trail
Younger visitors can explore the Collections with a fun activity sheet. Family favourites include My Favourite Animal or the seasonal trail series.
These glass models made by the Blaschka family between 1863 and 1890 are exquisitely detailed reproductions of difficult to preserve soft-bodied animals, like sea-slugs. More than 50 Blaschka models are on display in our Irish Room.
10. Whale of a time!
One of the most striking exhibits at the museum was the 20-metre long Fin Whale skeleton suspended from the roof. In 2020 that specimen was removed. How we did it is a story in itself.