Museums and Libraries and Dead Zoos, Oh My!

Beatrice Gantzer
May 22, 2014

I’ve talked about Edinburgh, I’ve talked about Northern Ireland and even Norway found its way in, but Dublin itself has been neglected. Turns out that after five months, it’s easy to take a fascinating city for granted… that is, until you realize you’re getting on a plane in less than 48 hours. In the spirit of looming nostalgia, then, here are just a few of the educational (and free!) things to do in Dublin.

The National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. Housed in a gorgeous old building vaguely reminiscent of a wedding cake, the museum’s collections include some Egyptian and Classical artifacts as well as over two million Irish artifacts, ranging from the prehistoric to post-medieval. Highlights for me were the bog bodies (both smaller and more recognizable than I had expected) and the reliquaries.

Natural History Museum. Hoo boy, this was a bizarre one. Known as the “Dead Zoo,” the building and collection haven’t changed much since Victorian times, so you get a nice sense of time travel to accompany the jellyfish in jars and whale skeleton dangling from the ceiling. It’s a simultaneously eery, hilarious and beautiful place.

Chester Beatty Library. I didn’t even know this existed before wandering over from Dublin Castle. Turns out it’s regarded as one of the best museums in Europe, centered around the collections of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. The densely packed exhibitions are beautiful just to look at and mind-blowing once you learn what exactly you’re seeing, from a thousand-year-old Qur’an copied by one of the greatest medieval Islamic calligraphers, to Biblical papyri from 200 AD. Less solemn was a temporary exhibition on “Costumes Parisiens, fashion plates from 1912-1914.”

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Beatrice Gantzer

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Bea Gantzer, and I am a junior English major at Washington University in St. Louis. I&#39;m a distance runner, baker, and Minnesotan. This will be my first time out of the United States, and I look forward to experiencing a new culture, soaking up Dublin&#39;s rich history, and getting little-kid excited over seeing buildings older than the U.S. itself.</span></p>

2014 Spring
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Washington University in St. Louis
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