The Irish Times Guide to Ireland’s Reopening Museums, Galleries and Heritage Sites

As the petals of real life very slowly begin to unfold, this week sees the first steps in the gradual reopening of the Irish cultural sector, after four months of closure.

Most galleries, museums, heritage sites, other cultural attractions, and libraries (for loan only) can reopen as of today. Fortunately, you can also travel outside of your country to visit them. Up to 15 people can now also gather for live performances outside. (Other live performances and theaters cannot resume until June.)

The rooms are impatiently awaiting him. “It has been a long time since the public inhabit the gallery spaces, and we miss the connection and engagement with our audience,” says Mary McCarthy, director of the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork. She encourages people to come in. “Even if you’ve never been there before, come on. “

No matter where you go, you must wear a face cover, and many sites require advance reservations to check numbers, even though they are free.

Museums and galleries that cannot yet open are those accessible only via a guided tour, such as the 14 Henriette Street building museum, in Dublin, which comes from won the Silletto Prize at the European Museum of the Year awards, and Kilmainham Prison, on the other side of the Liffey. They were still awaiting advice at the end of last week on when they can reopen. The Culture Ministry said “we understand that at the moment no visits will be allowed, but we are waiting for the settlement to confirm it.”


Check online and locally for booking details and opening hours before traveling

Merrion Square, Dublin 2, free, book online,
Reopening on Monday May 10. On May 11, her exhibition New Perspectives (from € 5) opens, presenting works acquired by the gallery over the last decade, including Cityscape by Alice Neel, City Rectangle by Ilya Bolotowsky, Her First Communion by John Lavery and Crayfish by Anne Yeats. The gallery store reopens on May 17th.

Butler Gallery, Kilkenny

Evans Home, John’s Quay, Kilkenny, free, book online,
Reopening on Tuesday May 11. Visitors can view the gallery’s collection and the Tony O’Malley Collection, as the Butler prepares to create two installations on June 11 by Kilkenny-born artist Richard Mosse. The café, with tables on the outdoor terrace, is open.

Ely Place, Dublin 2, free, book online,
Reopening on Monday May 10, with a group of exhibitions until June 27, including Sean Scully: Eleuhra (for the first time in Ireland); Damien Flood: Tilt; Fiona Hackett: The stories of THE long illness; and Robert Ballagh: Home.

Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin 8, free, book online,
Reopening on Tuesday, May 11, including Imma Collection: Freud Project (latest project the Artist’s Mother); Northern Lights: The David Kronn Collection of Photographs; and the visual voices of the DCU Mellie program. On May 26, Ghosts from the Recent Past, from the collection, reopens. Obedience and mistrust by Portuguese artist Paula Rego runs until May 25 (tickets 8 €). I am outside, a new public space using the gallery’s expansive grounds for artist commissions, events, collaborations, socially remote spaces and cafes, is part of its 30th anniversary celebration.

Doug Fishbone exhibition at Crawford Gallery Cork

Crawford Art Gallery, Cork

Emmet Place, Cork, free, no reservation required,
Reopening on Monday, May 10, with two new exhibitions: For Those Who Don’t Tell Dara McGrath, 60 Photographic Works on the War of Independence, plus outdoor sites in the city; and the Zurich Portrait (and Young Portrait) Prizes exhibition, which only managed a brief showing at the National Gallery before the lockdown. Doug Fishbone’s first solo show in Ireland opens on May 21.

Various locations, free, reservation required only for the Archeology branch, stores reopen on May 17th,
Three of the branches of the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin reopen at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 10. (The Natural History Museum, in Merrion Square, remains closed for renovation). Exhibits at the Archeology Branch (Kildare Street, Dublin 2) include the permanent Treasury and Gold: Ireland’s Gold exhibits, as well as others at Clontarf 1014 and Glendalough. The Decorative Arts and History Museum (Collins Barracks, Dublin 7) has permanent exhibits on designer Eileen Gray and the Irish Wars 1919-23, as well as In Form Crafts and an Ib Jorgensen fashion retrospective. At Country Life (Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co Mayo), exhibits include Cycling the Country; Crown Beoir, focusing on the hair of Traveler / Mincéiri women and girls; Polish folk art; and A Forgotten Polish Hero of the Irish Famine.

Various locations in Ireland,
Almost all national historic property sites with parks, gardens or walkways – such as St Stephen’s Green and St Enda’s Park in Dublin, Doneraile Park Liege, Castletown Estate in Co Kildare, and Emo Court Park in Co Laois – were opened during the lockdown, with the Bureau of Public Works gradually opening out to national monument sites where it could do so safely.

Garinish Island has a gradual reopening in May, with self-guided tours of Bryce House starting May 20. Among the sites reopening indoors from Monday, May 10, for independent visitors, are Dublin Castle‘s State Apartments and its Coach House Gallery (with an exhibition, 100 Lithographs: Dante’s Divine Comedy, by Liam Ó Broin), Kilkenny Castle and the Site Brú na Bóinne Unesco World Heritage Site, including Newgrange (exterior only, no access to interior chamber) and Knowth.

The OPW reopening sites are updated regularly at and on this Government site.

Listen again to the Seamus Heaney NLI exhibit

Seamus Heaney: listen again, in Dublin

Bank of Ireland College Green Cultural and Heritage Center, Dublin 2, free, paid,
This National Library of Ireland exhibit reopens on Monday 10 May. Living with Pride, the NLI’s year-long exploration of Irish LGBTI + identity and experience, opens in June. The library itself, on Kildare Street, is awaiting confirmation of the reopening of its reading rooms.

St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, from €8,
Reopens Monday May 10, with new daily St Stephen’s Green walking tours and a great scavenger hunt (plus walking tours of the Green Mile and Writers of Dublin).

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, free,
Reopens Monday, May 10, with its exceptional collection of art and manuscripts, from Egyptian Books of the Dead to contemporary Chinese prints, capturing the richness of human creative expression since 2700 BC.

Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, from € 16,
Reopening on Monday May 10. This exhibition presents the illustrated manuscript from the year 800, as well as the Long Room, one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.

EPIC Emigration Museum, Reaching Infamy gallery

Epic: The Irish Emigration Museum, Dublin

CHQ building, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1, € 16.50, book online,
Reopening on Monday May 10, marking its fifth anniversary. Interactive experience with stories of love, triumph, adventure and adversity, celebrating the impact and influence of Irish emigrants across the world. Out in the World, about activists from the Irish LGBTQ + diaspora, opens in June and two new galleries in July.

Croke Park, Dublin 3, from € 21,
Reopening on Monday May 10 (with stadium tours pending pending government clarification). Celebrate the national games, Gaelic hurling and football and the amateur sports association which is intimately linked to our identity, our history and our culture.


Other locations that will reopen on Tuesday May 11 include

Sites that will reopen on Friday May 14 include

Among the many galleries and museums that are gearing up to reopen later in May is

Dublin Zoo, the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland and other outdoor attractions are already open

Comments are closed.