Exploring Dublin museums with free admission
After almost four months in quarantine, spending our summer inside our own houses, or at best in back gardens or nearby parks, we all feel like going out more and exploring the city. Most of us couldn’t wait for the restrictions to be lifted to be able to enjoy a bit of cultural life that isn’t through a screen. Now that most cultural institutions are open in Dublin, and following Government recommendations for safety, we can finally throw ourselves in the cultural scene! But the pandemic affected the whole world and many people felt a negative effect in their pockets. Right now things are still generally unstable – a few of our neighbours in Ireland are already facing another lockdown for at least two weeks, and even though many people can’t wait to travel abroad to enjoy the last chances of a summer trip, the Government recommendations are to avoid unessential travels to other countries. Considering all that, our best option is to take this as an opportunity to enjoy the city and the country we live in. Ireland is such a beautiful island and full of culture to explore! Thinking about those like us that suffered financially with the pandemic and for many reasons cannot travel now, we are launching a series of posts about free cultural places to explore in Ireland, starting by the capital.
The National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland houses a collection of over 16,300 artworks that cover the history of western European art, from around 1300 to the present day, including paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, archival and bibliographical material. There are a lot of famous artists displayed in the gallery, like Caravaggio, Francisco José de Goya, Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Jack B. Yeats, Picasso, Monet, Mantegna, Titian and more. In addition to the museum galleries with their permanent collection, The National Gallery also has great temporary exhibitions, that might have a fee.
The National Gallery of Ireland opened its door to the public for the first time on 30 January 1864, after ten years of campaigns for the funding of the building, designed by Francis Fowke and with its exterior replicating that of its neighbour, the Natural History Museum (that will be making its own appearance here in the coming weeks). At the time the collection consisted of 112 pictures, so we can see how it has grown since its birth. Since the collection grew the building also had to grow, having undergone through extensions and repairs over the years.
Both, building and collection, are worth a visit!
The National Gallery of Ireland is located at Merrion Square West, in Dublin 2. The opening hours are Monday 11am to 5.30pm, Tuesday to Saturday 9.45am to 5.30pm and Sunday 11.30am to 5.30pm. All the galleries are now open and you can also visit some of the temporary exhibitions. The shop is open, but the Gallery café is currently closed. You should enter via the Merrion Square entrance and exit via Clare Street. There’s no need to book in advance. Please note that due to the uncertain times we are living in that information may change – we recommend that you always check the opening hours before going to any museum.
Although our goal with this series of posts is to encourage people to explore their own city on a low budget, bear in mind that museums and all cultural institutions were also highly affected by the lockdown. If you can support them in any way, I’m sure that even the smallest act will be much appreciated. You can give a donation, buy something at the shop, or if you are in a better place, become a member of the organization. But remember: even your presence in those places already shows support to the cultural scenario!
Brazilian Historian with MBA in Museum Management – based in Dublin, Ireland