I went to the National Museum in Kildare Street yesterday. It was busy enough, and a significant number of people were tourists, so I guess that is all good.
If I had to leave Dublin in the morning, the National Museum in Kildare Street, and possibly the National Gallery, would be in the top five list of things I would miss. Entry to both is free, and both have places of peace where I can go and find an escape from the messy city outside (seriously, have you seen the condition of the road surface at College Green? The city is aching and in pain these days).
My favourite individual exhibit in the National Museum on Kildare Street is in the Treasury. It’s a little gold model of a boat and it dates from around the first century of the common era. That’s what we used to call the first century AD but anyway. It is a beautiful delicate little piece, with I think, 7 pairs of oars, and a tiller, and a cross hold for a sail. It is lovely. In my view, for beauty, it out does everything else in this room.
The main body of the museum is made up of Or, Ireland’s collection of historic gold items. Much of that display is up to 4000 years old, particularly some of the torcs, the sun discs and some of the earrings and dress clasps. I never fail to be utterly amazed by the work, the delicate tooth engravings. I could walk down Grafton Street and look at some of the jewellery in our high end jeweller shops and nothing even comes close.
I remain amazed that 1) these things were created and 2) these things might even survive so many years.
I dip into the museum as and how I wish, and while I’ll admit I’m strongly attracted to the Or and Treasury pretty, the point is, we’re very lucky to have it, and have that extent of a collection here.