This is by far my favourite place in Dublin to kill time. Particularly if it's raining outside. It's free admission, like all our national museums, and it's absolutely fascinating if you are an archaeology/prehistory fan! It houses the majority of our national artefacts from the neolithic right through to medieval, and also has some egyptian stuff.
If it is your first visit, take a guided tour. But allow extra time to look around yourself afterwards. Look up when you walk in- the entrance dome over the gift shop is pretty!
You'll see lots of bronze age horns and a bronze trumpet in the collection, and crotales (bells) and I REALLY recommend buying the cd in the gift shop of Simon O'Dwyer playing these horns for the first time since their discovery. Musical instruments are best enjoyed by listening to them, even the ancient ones! And I'm pretty sure the cd is not available to download online anywhere, so pick it up while you're there, because hearing those horns sound for the first time is like listening to a very human call across the millennia and is the closest thing you'll get to time travel. Music is so timeless.
Apart from the musical instruments, my favourite items are the whimsical day-to-day things that give us a better insight into our ancestors' lives. For example: the bronze tweezers- vanity or surgical? Stone age beads and buttons (their jewellery was awesome!) the stone dildo from Knowth (sorry I mean "ritual fertility object") the mesolithic wooden model boat (if that's what it is, how cute- making toy boats to keep the kids entertained while you were busy killing something to feed them. Aww.) The mysterious significance of placing a single quartz crystal in with a cremated burials, which seemed a popular practice. And the elaborate hairstyle (complete with preserved head lice) of a certain royal bog body! His fingerprints are also fascinating.
Every time I come back here I see something a little differently. Take your time and enjoy.
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