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11 November 2022: Medieval Glendalough Model in Lego© at the National Museum of Ireland- Archaeology

The National Museum of Ireland- Archaeology (NMI) is excited to host a weekend of events centred on the display of a unique LEGO model of the valley of Glendalough. Made out of 44,388 bricks, the model shows how the monastic site might have looked in medieval times. The displays will also feature the longest LEGO wall ever made in Ireland, which has bene made by the people of Co. Wicklow.

Built by brick artist Jessica Farrell and inspired by archaeological discoveries about the valley, the LEGO© model includes displays of what daily life might have been like in the valley for monks and pilgrims, and references some of the objects on display at the museum’ s Glendalough exhibition. This summer, members of the public visiting the model in local libraries throughout Co Wicklow, had the chance to see the model and take part in LEGO building workshops. Under the guidance of Jessica Farrell, they made segments of a traditional stone wall in LEGO and created the longest wall made of LEGO in Ireland, over twelve metres in length. Both the LEGO model and the wall will be on display this coming weekend at NMI-Archaeology.


Jessica Farrell commented, 'This weekends’ events will be the culmination of a project which has been a long time in development, engaging several enthusiastic audiences along the way.  I'm delighted to see it reach so many young people, especially here at the museum, where the model can be viewed alongside real-life artefacts and interpretive material.'

The model and wall have been at the museum in recent weeks and people who are in Direct Provision at Baleskin attended activities, creating additional segments for the wall, whilst also learning about the objects in the museum.

Emer from the Baleskin Centre said, 'It was wonderful to see children and adults so engaged in the story of Glendalough. They were totally absorbed in the lego workshops with artist Jessica Farrell and got to exercise problem solving skills as well as creativity, thanks to all involved.'     

The LEGO model was an initiative of the Glendalough Heritage Forum, who are also members of iCAN, the NMI’s heritage network. It was funded by the Heritage Council and supported by Wicklow County Council Heritage Office. They wanted the model to show what archaeology can tell us about the daily life and monuments at Glendalough would have looked like, and UCD archaeologist Dr Graeme Warren advised on the content’s details.

Glendalough Heritage Forum explained, "We are delighted with the wonderful work that Jessica has done with the Lego Glendalough model - which has a real wow factor and engages people with the heritage of Glendalough in a completely different way."

Over the weekend of Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th November, those visiting the museum can view the model, as well as the wall and additionally, mosaic pieces that were also made during workshops in the library and at the museum. People can get hands-on with replica objects relating to the archaeology of the valley, test their observational skills tracking the daily life of the valley’s inhabitants with an activity sheet, try colouring drawings of objects from the time period, and watch videos about the archaeology of the site.


Lynn Scarff, the Director of the NMI commented: "We were pleased to work with Glendalough Heritage Forum to bring this model and associated activities to the public. It is an enjoyable way to learn about distant medieval times and imagine what daily life was like for those who lived in the Wicklow Valley over one thousand years ago. As the NMI opened an exhibition in 2020 showing the artefacts from Glendalough, it is especially interesting to see how they are included in the model including a shoe possibly left behind by a female pilgrim"

Questions and Answers
•             Who made the Lego model?       Brick artist, Jessica Farrell
•             How many Lego bricks are in it? 44,388                                              
•             Why was it made now?                 It was commissioned by Glendalough Heritage Forum to inspire and inform people about the archaeological heritage of Glendalough.
•             Who made the Lego wall?            It was made by 196 people living in Wicklow who took part in a series of workshops in Wicklow Public libraries over the summer of 2022.
•             How long is it?                                 It is twelve meters long

  • What else is there to see that is made out of Lego?          During a series of hands-on workshops in County Wicklow, 196 participants of all ages took inspiration from discussion on Celtic art and created their own patterns in the form of small LEGO® mosaics.
•             What is there to do and see?       View the LEGO Glendalough model, the LEGO traditional stone wall, LEGO mosaics, chat to the team about replica objects from the time period, explore the NMI Glendalough exhibition, colour-in  drawings of medieval shrines and  for the very small create something at the Duplo pit.
•             How can people see the model and join in?                         People do not need to book to see the model and it can be viewed at the National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology, on Kildare Street Dublin 2.
Press and Information Office
Brian Houlihan – Marketing executive - Marketing Department - National Museum of Ireland  087 411 0798
The National Museum of Ireland has 4 public sites, and a Collections Repository:
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology (Kildare Street, Dublin 2)
National Museum of Ireland – Natural History (Merrion Street,  Dublin 2) 
National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History (Collins Barracks, Dublin 7)
National Museum of Ireland – Country Life (Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo)
Collections Resource Centre (Swords) (Not open to the public)
 Admission to the National Museum of Ireland and its Exhibitions is Free. 
Museum Opening Hours;
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday and Monday 1.00pm – 5.00pm
Visit for details of ongoing events/activities.
Instagram: @nationalmuseumofireland

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