The National Museum, Dublin

The façade of the National Museum exactly mirrors that of the National Library; the two buildings are separated by the entrance to Leinster House, home of the Dáil and Seanad. On the ground floor of the museum, prehistoric artefacts include the Lurgan bogboat, dug out of a bog in County Galway early this century and the oldest surviving Irish boat, made about 2500BC. Medieval treasures include the Ardagh hoard from County Limerick, a collection of highly-decorated croziers, including one from Lismore, County Waterford, made about 1100 and 12th century book shrines. On the first floor, treasures include Irish silver from the 18th century and glassware from the 19th century. Among the silver pieces are a mace from Bandon, County Cork (1700) and two maces and the seal of Navan, made in Dublin in 1680. The Merrion Row entrance is to an exhibition area, while the approach to the Natural History museum is from Merrion Square West. Although the museum has been well refurbished in recent years, most of its collection is being moved to the former Collins Barracks site, near Heuston Station , which should prove an imaginative new venue.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Admission free.
Book and gift shop, café
Open Tues-Sat, Sun, all year.
Tel. (01) 677 7444.