Ireland’s rich history and heritage has helped shape the country and society as we know it today. As a student it’s often hard to find the time to visit museums, be it of art, history or music. With so many cheap and free museums on your doorstep in Dublin, it’s a shame not to pay them a visit.
It doesn’t hurt to brush up on your knowledge of Ireland and some museums are surprisingly fun. Here are a few museums worth a visit when you’re bored or feel like a break from your studies.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)
IMMA provides a space where contemporary life and art connects. At the moment they are running the Freud Project (2016-2021) which is a curated exhibition of portraitist Lucian Freud. Free informal guided tours are offered Tuesdays to Fridays and are well worth the trip for anyone remotely interested in art.
IMMA not only boasts amazing artwork, but it is also located on the grounds of the historical Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The hospital was founded in 1684 as a home for retired soldiers and the architecture is based on Les Invalides in Paris.
A visit to IMMA is not only restricted to the artwork. It can include roaming the formal gardens or a walk through the historical exhibition the ‘Old Man’s House’. This exhibition explores the stories of the soldiers who retired in the hospital, the staff and the story of the restoration. You can also pay a visit to the IMMA Shop and the Kemp Sisters Cafe, which is the perfect spot for a coffee break. More information can be found at www.imma.ie.
The Irish Whiskey Museum
The Irish Whiskey Museum is independent of all whiskey distillers and there are over 100 different types of Irish whiskey in stock. Storytellers give fully guided tours and lead tastings of different Irish whiskeys. The museum has four different rooms with each representing a different era in Irish history. You can add other experiences to your tour such as the Whiskey Blending Experience and the Whiskey and Brunch Experience which are all available to book through their website.
Student tickets for the standard tour are €18 and this includes a one hour fully guided tour and three crafted Irish whiskey tastings. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, the tour offers alternative soft drinks for non-drinking adults and children. Tours take place daily from 10am to 6pm and after the tour visitors can experience live traditional music, storytelling and events every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening until 10:30pm. Visit www.irishwhiskeymuseum.ie for more information.
Bram Stoker’s Castle Dracula Dublin
With Halloween fast approaching, this attraction should be on the list for anyone who loves a good scare. Millions have been spent on creating this incredible Irish Castle Dracula Attraction for people to enjoy an experience with the characters from Dracula and also a chance to learn more about Irish writer Bram Stoker, who wrote the Gothic Dracula novel. Visitors journey through the castle tunnels, over spinning bridges to the vampire courtyard, up to Dracula’s lair and down to the graveyard theatre for a vampire inspired show. You will also get the chance to visit the Bram Dracula Vampire Museum.
Tickets for the show are €15 for a student, but are selling out fast so book as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Visit www.castledracula.ie for more information.
Windmill Lane Recording Studios
Windmill Lane Recording Studios is Ireland’s most iconic recording studio with previous clients such as legends U2, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Hozier, Metallica, Ed Sheeran, Rod Stewart, Nile Rodgers, AC/DC and many more. Using a balance of technology, audio-media and intuitive storytelling, the one-hour visitor experience presents people with the opportunity to understand the creation of some of the most iconic albums and songs of the past 40 years.
The Studio is still a working recording studio, so booking online in advance is essential as it is not a walk-in visitor centre or museum. The tickets are pricier than any other location on this list at
€18 for students but well worth the visit. It is situated on Ringsend Road in the Docklands area of Dublin, just a 20 minute walk from Trinity college.More information can be found at www.windmilllanerecording.com.
The Icon Factory and The Icon Walk
The Icon Factory is a non-for profit collective based in Temple Bar and run entirely by artists and volunteers. It is dedicated to celebrating Ireland’s cultural heritage through the production of images of icons and displaying these art pieces on their sister project The Icon Walk. These artworks vary from representing rock stars to sporting heroes to writers and are produced using different forms of art.
The activities of the Icon Walk were made with the goal of revitalising a part of Temple bar that had a high crime rate and to which they refer to as a previously ‘depressed urban area’. Set out along the cobbled roads of Temple bar, Ireland’s largest open air art-installation attracts artists young and old from Ireland and abroad, all who exhibit their work for free in a non-commission exhibit space.
The Icon Factory funds The Icon Walk through sales of fine art prints, t-shirts, posters and other items bearing the iconic artwork, which are available online or in store. The Icon Factory and walk are both free and although the back lanes of Temple bar isn’t a usual hangout spot, it’s definitely worth a visit for any student. Visit www.iconfactorydublin.com for more information.