Free Museums in Dublin

Posted in: Dublin SIghtseeing


National Library of Ireland
Research your ancestry at the National Library of Ireland. Photo: Nico Kaiser.

Rainy day in Dublin? A Cheapo looking to wait out the storm indoors can explore one of the free museums in city center. Whether you’re interested in art, literature or natural history, there is a free Dublin museum to match.

1. The National Gallery of Ireland
Merrion Square West
Web site

You could spend hours wandering through the halls of the National Gallery, but if you only go to one room it should be the hall devoted to the paintings of Irish artist Jack B. Yeats. The vibrant colors of his paintings are unexpected and striking, and it’s fascinating to see so much work from one painter in a single space.

2. The National Library of Ireland
2/3 Kildare Street
Web site

After getting artsy with Jack, stroll over the National Library of Ireland to wax poetic with his brother William. The museum’s interactive exhibit dedicated to W.B. Yeats  allows you to electronically scan through the poet’s private notebooks with a swipe of the finger. The exhibit also includes memorabilia, videos and famous Irish personalities reading his poems.

And if, after exploring the Yeats history, you’re inspired to research your own, you’ve come to the right place. The Library has an impressive amount of records from parish registers to newspapers to help you trace your ancestors.

hugh lane gallert

The Francis Bacon Studio, Hugh Lane Gallery. Photo: musical photo man

3. The Natural History Museum
Merrion Square West
Web site

Nicknamed “the Dead Zoo,” the Natural History Museum is a regular menagerie of stuffed and skeletal wildlife. Here you can learn about indigenous animals such as the Irish Elk (sometimes called a Giant Deer), an extinct animal with antlers that spread as far as 12 feet. There’s also a skeleton of a humpback whale hanging from the ceiling.

4. The Hugh Lane Gallery
Charlemont House, Parnell Square North
Web site

The Hugh Lane Gallery has an excellent collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as short-term exhibitions. But one thing really draws people to this gallery: the Francis Bacon Studio. When the artist died in London, his entire studio was transported back to his hometown of Dublin. It was reassembled in the Hugh Lane Gallery precisely as it was found in London.

5. The Chester Beatty Library
Dublin Castle
Web site

Located within the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library is an art museum and library where you can see everything from rare manuscripts, to Egyptian papyrus texts, to contemporary exhibitions. Art from 2700 BC through the present day is on display here. And don’t miss out on the roof garden on a sunny day.

About the author

Jessica Colley is a freelance travel writer and poet. She blogs about Dublin and more at

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