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Finding ancient Egypt in Dublin

February 27, 2014

National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
Earlier this month I went back to Dublin, Ireland. A few years ago I went for the first time and only spent one day there. On my first visit I discovered National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology and the Egyptian artefacts they have. This year I decided to go back to have a better look.

The Museum itself has several departments, each housed in a different location in Dublin.
The Archaeology museum is on Kildare Street. The building was custom built for the museum, which opened to the public in 1890. Let me tell you, it is stunning.
The doors are made of thick wood and on them you can see beautiful carvings. Some rooms have mosaics on the floor which relate to historic events or nations. There are cast-iron columns (as you can see below) and the shop is in the domed rotunda. The building alone is worth visiting.

National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology
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The Egyptian department is very small. If you are looking for big halls filled with big statues, this is not the museum for you.
Even though the room is small and quite dark, they did manage to fit in three mummies and some beautiful artefacts and smaller statues. They have a huge cat mummy, but unfortunately the area around the cat is so dark I couldn’t make a decent photo…at least not without a monopod or tripod. I live in the UK and a monopod or tripod is not something you want to travel with on a plane.

It’s quite interesting there are Egyptian artefacts in this museum, because its main focus is Ireland: its history and anything found in Ireland. The ancient Egyptian items were most definitely not found there! Unfortunately the guidebook doesn’t explain where the collection comes from (other than Egypt, of course) and what the link is with Ireland and this museum.

National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology
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I couldn’t really discover a pattern in the layout of the room. It doesn’t seem to be set up by item type, period or category. This does make it a little haphazard, but at the same time forces you to have a good look. You’re not likely to glance over anything this way.

Figure of a man from the rim of a bowl for libations
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The rest of the museum is also definitely worthwhile, but I won’t discuss that here. This is a blog about Egyptology, after all.

Guinness Storehouse
I suppose there aren’t many people who have never heard of Arthur Guinness and that beautiful, dark stuff he brewed.

Pulled my own pint at Guinness Storehouse
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There is something ancient Egyptian in the Guinness Storehouse. It wasn’t there (at least not on display) during my previous visit, but they have now incorporated it into the tasting experience. When Howard Carter found barley grains in Tutankhamun’s tomb, a sample of it was sent to Dublin. The good people at Guinness analyzed it. It’s this sample in its original bottle which is now on display.
You have to drink some Guinness before they let you see it, though. Not fair, is it?

Not really Egyptian
What I saw at Christ Church Cathedral is not actually Egyptian. However, my unwavering interest in animal mummies caused me to take a photo or two anyway.
The story goes that a cat and a mouse got trapped in one of the organ pipes at the cathedral and consequently died. So there you have it, two natural mummies in an organ pipe, now on display.

The cat and the rat at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin
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If you want to see the mouse too, you’ll have to visit my photoset on Flickr with all the photos I took in Dublin. There are some additional photos of the Egyptian artefacts in the National Museum of Ireland as well.

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From → Museum visits

One Comment
  1. When I saw The Cat and the Rat at Christchurch in 2011, I nearly died laughing. I had almost completely forgotten the reference in Finnegan’s Wake until I walked in and saw them in the display case.

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