The city of Dublin has a longstanding reputation as one of the world's leading centres of culture and artistic excellence, refelected in the Irish Capital's ancient monuments and endless list of museums and galleries. Visitors will encounter a host of intriguing and inspiring exhibitions and artefacts showcased in some of the finest places of cultural significance in Europe. It is often a difficult task knowing where to start exploring this stunning city of many contrasts, however, many people concur that the museums in the Dubin's main cultural centre South of the Liffey are always a good starting point.
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Dublin is home to some of the world's most outstanding collections of art spanning all genres and eras of art history from contemporary Irish art to ancient Chinese and Egyptian. Set amidst the beautiful tree-lined Merion Square in South Central Dublin, The National Gallery is home to a breathtaking Caravaggio and a whole room solely dedicated to Ireland's pre-eminent artist, Jack B Yeats. Since it opened its doors to the public in 1854, Ireland'sNational Gallery in Dublin has amassed a colossal 12,500 artworks through bequests, comprising of a stunning collection of watercolours, oils, drawings and imposing sculptures. The National Gallery was extended in 2002, featuring the ultramodern and utterly splendid Millenium Wing, home to two floors of galleries tailored for touring exhibitions and an interactive multimedia room, allowing visitors to track down any painting exhibited throughout the whole gallery.
Opened in 1991, The Irish Museum of Modern Art otherwise known as IMMA is Ireland's foremost gallery for modern visual art, showcasing a perfect balance of old and new works from contemporary Irish artists such as Louis Le Brocquy, Richard Gorman and Dorothy Cross. Set in the classical building of the Royal Hospital of Kilmainham, IMMA is home to a permanent exhibtion of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró masterpieces and regularly showcases temporary exhibtions presenting inspiring works from 20th and 21st Century artists of international renown. Free guided tours are available on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays where informative staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have.
An essential stop in Dublin's museums and galleries itinerary is The National Museum in Kildare Street, situated within close proximity to the National Gallery and Natural History Museum. Established in 1877, this remarkable puropse-built edifice is next door to the Dáil, the Irish Parliament and is undoubtedly Dublin's star attraction. The National Museum houses an impressive collection of Bronze and Iron-Age artefacts, a breathtaking array of mediaeval Celtic metalwork and a wealth of interesting exhibits relating to Ireland's struggle for independence. The ultimate showpiece in this inspiring museum is the Treasury, home to two of Ireland's most renowned Celtic treasures, the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch dating from the 12th and 8th Centuries respectively. Elsewhere in the Treasury, visitors can marvel at the stunning jewellery and decorative objects crafted by Bronze and Iron - Age artisans such as the Loughnasade Bronze War Trumpet which dates from the first century BC.
Dublin is world renowned for its longstanding literary history, having produced some of the world's leading playwrights and writers such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, WB Yeats and Bram Stoker to name but a few. Literature enthusiasts and the Literati can experience an excellent showcase of Dublin's literary circuit past and present at the Dublin Writers Museum in Parnell Sqaure, north of the Liffey. Dating from the 18th Century, this imposing building comprises of two houses hosting an impressive collection of photographs, portraits, memerobilia, including a letter from Brendan Behan to his brother, the first edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula and Samuel Beckett's phone. While the museum focuses on the lives of Ireland's much loved departed, the building next door is home to the Irish Writers Centre which serves as meeting and working place for Ireland's contemporary writers and literati.
The redevelpoed Grand Canal Docks area south of the Liffey is home to two quirky museums, The Waterways Visitor Centre and the National Printing Museum. The introspective Waterways Visitor Centre unveils the history and development of Ireland's canals and waterways through a collection of model displays and audio-visual display panel. This small museum is coloquially known as the 'Box in the Docks' beacause of its shape. Nearby at Garrison's Chapel, The National Print Museum showcases an impressive collection of antique print presses which are still in working order today. Visitors are offered persoanlised guided tours which are presented in an informal manne. In the upper floor of this quirky museum, there is an exuberant collection of old newspaper covers chronicling some of most significant episodes in Irish History. Both museums are situated slightly outside of the city centre and can be accessed by DART trains with Grand Canal Dock Station nearby.
Dublin is home to a host of municipal and independent museums and galleries dotted throughout Greater Dublin Area, each having distinctive characteristics and charm. The city's museums and galleries are essentially a celebration of the city's people, rich heritage and achievements throughout the ages. For information on Dublin's leading museums, please scroll down to the list of some of the Dublin's foremost attractions, featuring contact information.