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Celebrate seasonal traditions with a feast of tours, activities & workshops at the National Museum of Ireland

Christmas at the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology

Rediscover the magic of Christmas past with our festive calender of fun-filled events and activities across our four Museum sites in Dublin and Mayo.

Hear about the origins and the historical significance of the crib; discover how Christmas was celebrated in Ireland in years gone by; make decorations from salt dough or learn more about Christmas celebrations in Poland. 

Nollaig Shona daoibh go léir!

Opening hours for Christmas and New Year

We are open throughout the Christmas and New Year period from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and from 1pm to 5pm on Sundays and Mondays, with the exception of Christmas Eve (closed 1pm); Christmas Day (closed) and St Stephen's Day (closed).

  • Saturday, 24 December (Christmas Eve) - Closed to visitors at 1pm

  • Sunday, 25 December (Christmas Day) - Closed

  • Monday, 26 December (St Stephen's Day) - Closed

  • Sunday, 1 January, 1pm - 5pm

  • Monday, 2 January, 1pm - 5pm

GUIDED TOUR: Let the Sun Shine Winter Solstice Tour

Tuesday 20th, Wednesday 21st &Thursday 22nd at 11am & 12:30pm
National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

To celebrate the rising sun of the Winter Solstice at Newgrange, join our special tour to discover how ancient monuments and archaeological objects are linked to celestial events. Learn how passage tombs, such as Newgrange, are aligned to the Winter Solstice. Take a look at objects found in Ireland’s tombs and find out how Bronze Age objects, such as lunulae and sun discs, are linked to solar symbols. BOOKING REQOIRED

WINTER HIGHLIGHT TOUR of the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology
Throughout the Christmas break. Families 8+
National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Over the Christmas Break, join one of our FREE public tours to find out more about life in Ireland from the Stone Age to Early Medieval Ireland and see some of Ireland's most iconic treasures at the Museum. No booking required, places allocated on a first come first served basis. Meet at the beginning of the Prehistoric Ireland Exhibition, on the ground floor. Wheelchair accessible. Families with children 8+ FIND OUT MORE

WATCH BACK: Crafty Christmas Decorations

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.

READ: Medieval Ring Brooch with a Christmas tale

There are more than 100 ring brooches in the Museum’s archaeological collection but only one has the names of the Magi (wise men) inscribed on it. Museum curator, Sharon Weadick discusses the story behind the silver brooch and how it came to be in collections of the NMI. READ MORE

Online Activity: Rockin' Reindeer Fossils

Investigate fossils at National Museum of Ireland- Natural History and get creative with sustainable materials, with the help of ReCreate Ireland, to make your own fossil-inspired winter decorations!


CREATE: 12 Days of Christmas: Stamp - Shape - Decorate

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. FIND OUT MORE

DISCOVER: The Winter Solstice at Newgrange & Online Winter Solstice Tour

Read a brief account of the Winter solstice at Newgrange, the archaeological excavations at the site and some of the finds now stored in the National Museum of Ireland. FIND OUT MORE

WATCH BACK: This online Winter Solstice Tour looks at how passage tombs, such as Newgrange, are aligned to the Winter Solstice. It also examines artefacts that are linked to solar symbols, including gold lunulae and sun discs dating to the Bronze Age.

DISCOVER: Generations past - how Christmas was celebrated in years gone by

As Christmas is quickly approaching and we are caught up in the rush of buying presents and putting up Christmas decorations, take a few moments to consider how generations past celebrated Christmas in Ireland. Many of these traditions and customs are represented in the National Folklife Collection which is on display at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life, Castlebar, Mayo. READ MORE


Spotlight Talk: Art Ó Murnaghan's Christmas Cards of 1917

Join Museum educator Courtney McKee as she discusses a set of politically-charged Christmas cards, designed by the Celtic Revival artist Art Ó Murnaghan, a year after the Easter Rising.

WATCH BACK: The Nativity

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.

CREATE: The Mummers Play at Home

This Christmas, if you’re stuck inside and looking for something new to do with your family, why not try creating your own Mummers play at home with this step by step guide! Created by the Armagh Rhymers, one of Ireland’s most celebrated folk theatre ensembles. Sing, act, make music, dance, tell stories and act the clown. Why not try making your own Mummers costume? Make sure your masks, costumes and props are recycled or made from natural materials! FIND OUT MORE

WORD SEARCH: Wonders of Winter

It’s winter and often animals are sleeping or hibernating - it’s the best way to avoid the cold weather. Download and print this wordsearch and have fun finding a range of words related to animals you might see or hear during wintertime in Ireland. Discover more about hibernating animals in Ireland. FIND OUT MORE

WATCH BACK: Polish Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve dinner is one of the most important celebrations of the year in Poland. Most of the dishes are cooked specifically for this special day and only once a year. Tradition calls for 12 courses to be served, which is a symbol of 12 Apostles and representation of the 12 months of the year. WATCH: A heart-warming festive video featuring Polish children in Ireland explaining more about Christmas celebrations in Poland. 


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