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Celebrate Christmas 2021 at the National Museum of Ireland

Learn how to play like a Viking; explore Ice Age fossils; craft your own Christmas decorations; or solve Riddles in the Museum. Enjoy all of this and more through a fun online programme of workshops, talks and tours for the festive season. We are also open at three Museum sites in Dublin and Mayo so be sure to schedule in a visit over the Christmas holidays for a great day out for all of the family.  

We are open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday and from 1pm to 5pm on Sundays and Mondays. We are closed to visitors at 12.30pm on Christmas Eve (24 December); Christmas Day (25 December); St Stephen's Day (26 December).

Normal opening hours resume from 1pm on Monday, 27 December.

You can also browse a wide range of unique gifts, crafts and books at three Museum sites or in the Museum Shop online.

Here are some of our top online events to enjoy this Christmas.

12 Days of Christmas: Stamp - Shape - Decorate

NMI - Decorative Arts & History (online)
1 to 31 December

Stamp, shape and decorate with this series of 12 Christmas activity cards, and learn how to craft your own salt dough ornament. Each card in this series is inspired by an artefact from the Museum’s collections, including many that you can come and see on display at Collins Barracks. Have a go at designing and making your own decorations and when you’re finished why not send us a photo of your festive creations by tagging them #MuseumAtHome? FIND OUT MORE

Ice Age Ireland - Cool Fossils

NMI - Natural History (online)
1 to 31 December 

While NMI – Natural History is closed due to works, why not try out this Museum at Home activity? We will explore Ice Age Ireland, learn about fossils in the Museum's collection and the different kinds of animals that lived here in the past. Download and print these activity sheets to learn about the cool “Ice Age” fossils in Ireland. Use the maps to discover what fossils were excavated in your county and test your skills by completing activities, like puzzles and a word search. This activity is designed for children aged 8-12 years old. FIND OUT MORE

Riddles in the Museum

NMI - Archaeology (online)
8 December to 6 January

Can you solve the riddles of the Museum? Download this activity sheet to see if you can solve these mysterious messages and match the riddles to the objects on display in The Treasury at the Museum. Once you have solved the riddles, see if you can find the names of these objects in the wordsearch. Suitable for children Age 7 - 14.  FIND OUT MORE

WATCH BACK! Crafty Christmas Decorations

NMI - Country Life (online)
Saturday, 18 December

Enjoy some Christmas crafting together with this short online tutorial from the Education Team at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life. Learn now to make your own 3D star and snowflake Christmas decoration, using materials you can find quite easily at home. FIND OUT MORE

The Nativity

NMI - Decorative Arts & History (online)
12pm, Sunday, 19 December 

Decorative nativity scenes have been crafted around the world for centuries and put on display during the Christmas season. Join Museum conservator Nieves Fernandez in this short online talk, to hear about the origins and the historical significance of the crib, and discover some of the lesser known facts about these beautifully crafted objects. Suitable for all ages.  FIND OUT MORE

WATCH BACK! Winter Solstice Tour

NMI - Archaeology (online)
Tuesday, 21 December

Learn how passage tombs, such as Newgrange, are aligned to the Winter Solstice, discover artefacts on display in the Museum that have been found in Ireland’s tombs and see artefacts linked to solar symbols including gold lunulae and sun discs dating to the Bronze Age. Suitable for all ages. This online tour was first broadcasted on 21st December 2020 and is available to watch from the Museum’s website and YouTube channel. FIND OUT MORE

Ragnarok-ing around the Christmas Tree! - Viking Winter Pastimes 

NMI - Archaeology (online)
2.30pm, Tuesday, 4 January 

Did you know that the Vikings had lots of pastimes to pass the long, cold, dark nights of winter? Join in this pre-recorded online event with Museum Educators and discover what artefacts are on display at the Museum that tell us about Viking Pastimes from ice-skating, to stories, to playing games. Learn how to play the Viking board game of Hnefatafl and create your own board and gaming pieces to play at home. Suitable for children aged 7-12. To accompany this pre-recorded online event instructions will be provided on how to create your own Hnefatafl board at home, and how to play it. FIND OUT MORE 

WATCH BACK LIVE! The Bear Family Christmas

NMI - Natural History (online)
Watch back with LIVE Q&A, 11.00am - 11.30am, Wednesday, 5 January 
NMI - Natural History is closed due to essential works but you can still virtually meet all eight different species or types of bears on display in the Museum! Join us live on our YouTube Channel at 11am as we watch back "The Bear Family Christmas" and then put your questions to a Museum Educator to answer live online for you. This introduction to the bear collection is suitable for families. Booking required. FIND OUT MORE 

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