Merrion Square: museums + galleries
Merrion Square is the centre of Georgian Dublin so it’s fitting that this is also the location of many of the city’s finest museums and galleries. The National Gallery of Ireland, The National Library, The National Museum of Archaeology and the Natural History Museum are all located nearby.
Established in 1854, The National Gallery of Ireland is home to the Irish National Collection of Irish and European Art. The collection comprises over 14,000 pieces of art including oil paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures. Highlights of the collection include Caravaggio’s masterpiece ‘The Taking of Christ’ and the Yeats Collection, featuring works of the celebrated Irish artist Jack B. Yeats, and just around the corner from the National Gallery of Ireland the main building of the National Library is home to an exhibition on the life and works of his brother – William Butler Yeats. The most intriguing of the Dublin’s National Museums is the Natural History Museum – known locally as ‘The Dead Zoo’. This cabinet-style museum has changed little since Victorian times and the collection of animal specimens it houses is unique in both its range and vintage. The spirit of scientific investigation is alive and well at Pearse Street’s Science Gallery, an enterprise so unique that it will be opening new Science Galleries across Europe in the coming years thanks to funding from Google.
This Georgian area also offers visitors far more modern delights with the Douglas Hyde, Green on Red, Royal Hibernian Academy, and the Doorway Galleries all offering visitors a chance to experience an eclectic mix of major international and emerging Irish contemporary art. The National Print Museum, which is currently housed in the historic Beggars Bush Barracks, celebrates Irish printing craft past and present and frequently holds practical workshops where visitors can try their hand at crafts like silk painting, letter pressing and linocut printing. So, if you want to gawk at a Caravaggio, or get your hands dirty creating your own piece of art, you simply have to check out the Merrion Square area.