Last Sunday we spent the day at the National Museum of Ireland at Collins Barracks. Upon arriving we noted that the opening hours were 2pm to 5pm and as it was 12.30 we walked around the outside of this large imposing building and Clarke Square, then we had delicous scones and tea in the Cafe while we waited for the doors to open.
There was something there for all the family, it was our first time to visit and we would have no hesitation in visiting again. The exhibition named Soldiers and Chiefs covers a wide range of topics from, Warfare in Ireland, The Wild Geese, The 1916 Rising, The Second World War and the UN peacekeeping duties, Training for Peace. The UN section celebrates 50 years of Irish peacekeeping from 1958 to 2008.
Another exhibit named Blaze Away features Duelling, gun making and sword making in the 19th century in Ireland and the families who ran businessess as gun makers and sword makers.
Also displayed is a large selection of Silver, glass and ceramics from a wide range of sources including Waterford, Wedgewood and Belleek featuring everything from modern and contemporary to older pieces.
An exhibit featuring haute couture garments by the Irish fashion designer Nellí Mulcahy shows examples of both day and evening wear.
The main reason that we attended was the fact that we had heard the advertisiment on RTE radio for the Albert Bender exhibition of Asian Art and we were not dissapointed. Albert Bender (1866-1941) who was born in Dublin donated over 250 items of his collection to the National Museum of Ireland between 1931 and 1936. This was an amazing exhibition which featured along with the items of art that Albert Bender collected, letters and christmas cards to him from amongest others the artist Jack B. Yates.
For me the most interesting part of the whole day was the Eileen Gray exhibit which is on permanent display. The exhibition realised one of Gray’s last ambitions – to have her work brought back to Ireland. She is regarded as one of the most influential 20th Century designers and architects, the exhibition includes such important items as the adjustable chrome table and the non-conformist chair. The exhibition also has a personal level, including family photographs and her lacquering tools. It illustrates an account of her professional development from art student at Slade, London and Paris to mature, innovative architect. The exhibition honours the memory of Eileen Gray, modern self-taught architect and designer. While I was studying interior design I read her biography and also watched with interest the TV programme which told her story from growing up in a large stately house in Wexford to the her studio in Paris. I also visited the area in the South of France where she lived in the home that she designed and had built. She also designed the range of furniture specifically for this her home.
Further information on this and all the other exhibits can be found at www.museum.ie entry is free and as I have said there is something there for all the family.