With the world turning green for St. Patrick’s Day, it is a good time to celebrate the history of Design in Ireland. As Graphic Mint is located in the heart of Dublin, I thought I would share with you some of the museums around our city that celebrate and promote this creativity. All of the options are easy to reach, with a number of them having free access, and are museums designers will find inspirational.
1. The Book of Kells
Starting in the centre of Dublin city, the Book of Kells is housed in the Old Library at Trinity College. Described as “Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript”, the book dates from the 9th Century and contains the four Gospels. It is the definitive example of an Irish illuminated manuscript and beautifully portrays Celtic-inspired artwork.
2. The Science Gallery
While at Trinity College, you can go from the 9th Century to the 21st Century with a visit to another attraction located within their grounds: The Science Gallery. This is an inspirational place for both designers and scientists for it is where “science and art collide.” The Science Gallery regularly hosts dfifferent exhibitions, rather than a permanent one, that can also be interactive as well as thought-provoking.
3. The National Gallery of Ireland
A short distance from Trinity College on Merrion Square is the National Gallery of Ireland. It contains some of the finest pieces of art owned by the Irish state. Examples come from Europe and beyond, including masterpieces by Caravaggio, Monet and Picasso. Visitors can access the main collection for free, although certain exhibits do have a charge.
Old Library, Trinity College Dublin
4. National Print Museum
The National Print Museum is situated just south of the Grand Canal, halfway between Merrion Square and the Aviva Stadium. The museum collection is housed in the Old Garrison Chapel of Beggars Bush Barracks. It contains artefacts related to the printing craft of Ireland. It does not just contain print materials but also the printing machinery and associated artefacts. Free tours are offered on certain days of the year.
5. Chester Beatty Library
The Chester Beatty Library is one of the treasures within Dublin Castle. This National Cultural Institution “is the pre-eminent Irish institution promoting the appreciation and understanding of world cultures, and the engagement with the peoples whose cultures are represented in the Collections.” The collection ranges from 2nd century Egyptian papyri to 17th and 18th century Japanese scrolls with a lot more in between.
6. Decorative Arts and History
The Decorative Arts and History Museum is part of the National Museum of Ireland and is located within the former Collins Barracks on the northbank of the River Liffey. The museum contains many exhibits on clothes, jewellery, ceramics and furniture. The work of Eileen Gray most notably represents the latter. She was one of the most influential designers and architects of the 20th Century.
7. Museum of Modern Art
The final museum I recommend a designer visit is the Museum of Modern Art. It is located in the former Royal Hospital in Kilmainham and houses the national collection of modern and contemporary art. Although emphasis is on items from post-1940, new pieces are added every year to ensure it stays relevant. Access is free, though some exhibitions do have a fee.
Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Source: William Murphy, Flickr
Taken together these museums provide a great taste of Irish art, craft and design. This is only the tip of the iceberg and there are many many more sites and museums designers can visit around Dublin, and Ireland, to keep them entertained and inspired. Visiting all the places mentioned here also covers a great swathe of Dublin city centre and provides a great sense of the history of this wonderful city, as well as the culture it has to offer.
If you would like to know more about Ireland, be sure to check out our previous blog post: 6 Interesting Facts about Ireland.
As well as that, you can check out some of our Design work in our Portfolio.