The Best Museums In Dublin

A stroll around a great museum is one of the best ways to spend a cold, wet day in Dublin. In our digital age, it is all too easy to forget the benefits of interacting with a piece of history or culture that is right in front of your eyes. The vast store of knowledge of the internet can never replace the awe of coming face to face with an intricate piece of jewellery thousands of years old, or the wonder at walking underneath the towering skeleton of a fin whale. 

Thankfully, Dublin has a wealth of inspiring museums, many of which are completely free to visit. 

In this post, we share the best museums in Dublin.

Map of Museums

The following map shows the location of every museum highlighted in this post:

The Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse gate

The Guinness Storehouse tour is the definitive guide to Dublin’s greatest export – the world-renowned Guinness stout. The tour takes place in the original St. James’s Gate brewery, which was leased by Arthur Guinness for a period of 9,000 years in 1759. By 1886 the brewery was the largest in the world, producing enough of ‘The Black Stuff’, as Guinness is affectionally know, to slake the thirst of Ireland and the rest of the world. 

The tour takes you through the 250 year history of Guinness, the ingredients and brewing process, and of course a tasting guide to the brew itself. Tickets include a pint of Guinness at the end of the tour, with a choice of pulling your own pint using the unique two-part pull method, or enjoying a drink in the Gravity Bar at the top of the building. The sweeping panoramic views over Dublin from the Gravity Bar are not to be missed, and indeed are as much of a draw as the iconic stout.

The Guinness Storehouse is the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland, and for good reason.

Location: St. James’s Gate, Dublin

Website: https://www.guinness-storehouse.com/en

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol

The fascinating history of Kilmainham Gaol is entwined with the history of Ireland and the struggle for freedom from British rule. It was in this jail that the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed on the order of the British government following the failed rebellion. It was also here that many prisoners were detained before being shipped to Australia. 

The tour of the jail gives an engrossing view into the history if its inhabitants and the grim realities if life inside its walls.

Location: Kilmainham Courthouse, Inchicore Road, Kilmainham, Dublin

Website: http://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie

National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology

Source: National Museum of Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland is spread across four locations, three of which are in Dublin – the Decorative Arts & History museum, the Natural History museum, and the Archaeology museum. Located in the heart of Dublin on Kildare Street adjacent to Leinster House, the seat of government, the Archaeology museum is an enchanting tour through Irish history. 

The impressive range of exhibits on show, covering Ireland’s history from the Iron Age to medieval times, are not the only draw – the building itself is a breathtaking sight, with its embellished Palladian roof and intricate mosaic tiled floors. The Kingship and Sacrifice exhibition in particular is not to be missed, with the preserved ‘bog body’ human remains dating back to the Iron Age a chilling and fascinating sight. 

Admission to all National Museum of Ireland locations is free of charge.

Location: Kildare Street, Dublin

Website: https://www.museum.ie/en-IE/Museums/Archaeology

National Museum of Ireland – Natural History

Taxidermy lioness

Source: National Museum of Ireland

The second of the National Museum of Ireland locations on the list is the astounding Natural History museum. Known locally as the ‘Dead Zoo’, the museum is home to a huge variety of preserved animal remains and skeletons. 

The jewel of the collection is undoubtedly the vast skeletons of two immense whales suspended from the ceiling of the main exhibition hall. The museum is a surefire hit with children in particular, although the weird and wonderful collection is sure to please all ages.

Location: Merrion Street, Dublin

Website: https://www.museum.ie/en-IE/Museums/Natural-History

National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History

"Soldiers & Chiefs" exhibition

Source: National Museum of Ireland

The final location of the National Museum of Ireland on our list is the Decorative Arts & History museum. The museum is housed in Collins Barracks, the former military barracks named after Michael Collins, one of the key figures in the struggle for Irish independence from Britain in the early 20th century.

This excellent museum’s most well known exhibition is probably the Irish military history exhibit, which traces Ireland’s military history from 1550 to the present day.

Location: Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin

Website: https://www.museum.ie/en-IE/Museums/Decorative-Arts-History

The Little Museum of Dublin

The charming Little Museum of Dublin lives up to its name, and takes visitors on a captivating whistle-stop tour of Dublin’s history over the past hundred years. The stunning Georgian townhouse that houses the museum is worth a visit on its own, conveniently located right on St. Stephen’s Green park in the heart of Dublin. 

The tour takes you on a journey through Dublin, from the tenements of the city in 1900, up to the the present day, with dedicated rooms of historical curiosities and memorabilia. 

Location: 15 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin

Website: https://www.littlemuseum.ie

14 Henrietta Street

Source: 14 Henrietta Street

During the Georgian era from 1714 to 1830, Dublin was transformed from a medieval city of narrow, winding streets, to a modern capital with wide, well organised streets lined with gleaming, four storey townhouses. Originally built for the elite of the city, many of Dublin’s magnificent Georgian townhouses had become dilapidated tenements by the middle of the 19th century, with multiple families living in cramped conditions in each house.

14 Henrietta Street takes visitors through the rise and fall of a Georgian Dublin townhouse through the voices of those who lived in it. This museum is an enthralling tour through 300 years of history.

Location: 14 Henrietta Street, Dublin

Website: https://14henriettastreet.ie

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

Located in the recently restored CHQ building in North Dublin on the banks of the Liffey, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is an immersive and interactive guide to the Irish diaspora. The museum traces the indelible mark left on the world by the estimated 10 million Irish emigrants through their stories and the letters and records they left behind. 

Location: The CHQ Building, Custom House Quay, Dublin

Website: https://epicchq.com

James Joyce Tower and Museum

Source: James Joyce Tower and Museum

The James Joyce Tower and Museum is housed in the famous Martello tower in which James Joyce stayed for 6 nights in 1904, and which became the opening setting of Joyce’s celebrated novel Ulysses. The tower is now a place of pilgrimage for Joyce enthusiasts. 

This quirky museum is an excellent excuse to visit the beautiful seaside village of Dun Laoghaire on Dublin’s south coast.

Location: Sanycove Point, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin

Website: https://www.joycetower.ie

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