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Celebrate St Patrick's Day at the National Museum of Ireland

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day in person and at home through this range of events and activities for all ages during the St. Patrick's Festival.

Have your say in the 20th Century History of Ireland Gallery public consultation. Drop in and meet the people of St. Patrick's Ireland. Make your own St Patrick's Day badge with recycled materials; discover the hidden meanings behind the symbols of Ireland; learn about Ireland's natural history; or enjoy some colouring-in for all of the family. 

20th Century History of Ireland Galleries Public Consultation

Thursday 17th March, 12pm - 1.30pm, NMI - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks (Spielgeltent Beag)
Friday 18th March, 11am - 12.30pm, NMI - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks (Spielgeltent Beag)
The National Museum’s vision for the 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries is to produce a compelling visitor experience on the History of Ireland from 1900 to the year 2020, which connects and speaks to a range of audiences.

Interpreting objects from the vast collections of the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), the 20th Century History of Ireland Galleries will exhibit objects that have been continuously collected on behalf of the Irish people since before the foundation of the state up to the present day.

These galleries offer an important opportunity for a wider public consultation process with communities across Ireland on our contemporary history, ensuring that this new permanent exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History is relevant and engaging to multiple audiences and identities within our communities.

The NMI is committed to ongoing engagement and dialogue with the public, and particularly those voices traditionally under-represented in narratives of our recent history.

The historical collections of the National Museum of Ireland number in their hundreds of thousands, and these new, permanent exhibition galleries will represent the largest ever interpretive showcase of Irish political, cultural and social history dating from the year 1900 to the present. The exhibition will serve as a dynamic and evolving cultural offering that can continue to respond rapidly to questions of changing Irish identity and our contemporary history.

Lynn Scarff is the Director of the National Museum of Ireland and took up her position in May 2018. Initially, working in environmental education across a diversity of projects including the Ballymun Regeneration, Lynn’s work is embedded in collaborative practice.

Dr Audrey Whitty has been Head of Collections and Learning since April 2019. In September 2021 in addition to this role, she was also appointed Deputy Director. She is a member of the senior management team, and is responsible for all aspects of the care of the 5 million objects in the collections across the four sites.

St. Patrick's Ireland: A Living History

17th March, 2pm-4pm
Palatine Room, NMI - Decorative Arts & History

Drop-in to the Palatine Room at the NMI - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks and join Tóla Collier and others from the re-enactment group, Laoch Living History, to meet the people of St. Patrick’s Ireland.
Meet six characters including an abbot, a scripture monk, a herbalist, a barber surgeon and a warrior as they use replicas to demonstrate the clothing and tools that the people of Ireland were making and using in Early Mediaeval Ireland at the time of St. Patrick’s arrival.

Within this space, you can also watch videos about the artefacts and monuments of Glendalough on a silent loop with subtitles. Additionally, there will be a timeline relating to the valley of Glendalough and activity sheets for families to take away.

Please note that this event will take place at the Palatine Room National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks

Not just shamrocks... Take a tour and explore symbols of Ireland at the Museum

During the St Patrick's Festival
NMI - Decorative Arts & History

The harp is one of the most common symbols of Ireland, which we see on everyday objects such as coins, and the shamrock is synonymous with St Patrick’s Day, but did you know that there are lots of other symbols that designers and artists have used over the centuries to express Irish culture and history? Why not take a tour at the Museum during the St Patrick’s Festival with our Museum guides to explore the fascinating range of Irish symbols, through objects on display, from the unusual to the everyday. Please note this is a short tour which will last 30 minutes in total. Meeting point is Museum Reception.Booking is essential and spaces are limited. MORE INFORMATION

What's the Scéal? - Storytelling with Niall de Búrca at the Museum

Friday, 18th March. 13.00 pm to 13. 35 pm & 13.40 pm to 14.15 pm
Storytime Yurt, Clarke Square, NMI - Decorative Arts & History
We’re delighted to welcome back to the Museum one of Ireland's premier traditional storytellers, Niall de Búrca. Niall’s storytelling will captivate and enthrall audiences of all ages. Taking inspiration from the Museum’s collections, Niall draws from his wealth of knowledge of Irish myths and legends, in this special telling of tales celebrating St. Patrick and the rich tradition of storytelling in Ireland. Explore the Museum after this session and see if you can weave any stories of your own? Share these with us using the hashtag #SPFMuseumStories. 

Niall will preform two shows on the day,taking place at 13.00 pm to 13.35 pm & 13.40 pm to 14.15 pm in the Storytime Yurt, located in Clarke Square. Walk-in event. No booking necessary.

CRAFT: Make your own St Patrick’s badge

Join Tom Doyle from the Education Team at the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life for some St Patrick’s Day crafting. In years gone by, children made a St Patrick’s badge to wear in honour of the saint on his feast day on 17 March. There are many examples of these colourful badges in the National Folklife Collection and Tom will show us how to make your own badge at home in this online workshop. Why not share your creations with us on social media? Tag us in your post or use the hashtag #MuseumatHome.

LEARN ABOUT: Symbols of Ireland

Learn about some of the hidden meanings behind the symbols of Ireland with this online, pop-up talk on 17 March. Join our Museum educators as they explore this topic through objects from the Museum’s collections at the NMI - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7. 


COLOURING - IN: St Patrick’s relics

Did you know there are objects in the Museum’s collection that are believed to have once belonged to St. Patrick? These are called relics and are kept in very special and beautifully decorated containers called shrines. Discover more about St. Patrick and his relics by downloading and printing out these special colouring sheets. Why not design your own shrine for something you hold special at home! We’d love to see your creations and you can share your artwork with us on social media using hashtag #MuseumatHome.

WATCH: Tales of Ireland Past

Did you know that Ireland wasn’t always an island? It has been a barren and icy place at times and blanketed with trees at others. The changing landscape has been home to all sorts of animals, including brown bears, giant deer and even hyenas – but, perhaps surprisingly, never snakes. In more recent times, Ireland had native wolves, wild boars and white-tailed eagles, as well as the familiar fox, pine marten and stoat which can still be found today. Watch Paolo Viscardi of the NMI - Natural History for this St Patrick's Festival event looking at Ireland's ever-changing natural history.


CRAFT: How to make a St Patrick's Bell

Create your own early medieval hand bell, inspired by the bell thought to have once belonged to St. Patrick. Watch this short step-by-step video by artist Renata Pekowska to discover how to make your own early medieval hand bell using materials in your own home.

For more information on  St Patrick & Objects in the NMI Collections and St Patrick Customs & Traditions 

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