An absolutely fascinating display of animals from Ireland and around the world awaits you in the Natural History museum in Dublin. Opened in 1857, it is described perfectly by the pamphlet as a “cabinet style zoological museum” and mention is made that the collection on display has changed little in the last century.
My favorite exhibit in the museum stares down at you in the form of three massive giant Irish deer skeletons that greet you upon entering. As you start to imagine a world in which these animals are roaming the country side, you look down a seemingly endless row of display cabinets.
The collection continues on the second floor, even more tightly packed than the first. Each step you take creaks on the wood floors that are more than likely well over a hundred years old. Staring at you from every angle are bison, apes, sloths, koalas, polar bears – and when you look up you see yet another two levels of display cases lining the walls, inaccessible due to current safety regulations.
And if all that weren’t enough, a massive 66 foot long fin whale skeleton hangs above the room for inspection.
If you have the chance to enjoy this now, do. Messaging inside the museum implies that a new building is being readied and the collection will soon be moved and expanded. There is no doubt that this will enable a more extensive display, but one can imagine that some of the charm of standing in a 19th century museum will fade away.
The museum is open every day but Monday, and admission is free. One could quickly browse the entire collection in 20 minutes or find themselves staring at different species of Irish birds for days.