Exploring Dublin’s Viking and Medieval Past at Dublinia

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Isn’t it great when you accidentally discover something that makes your trip memorable?  We had that experience at Dublinia, a Viking and medieval heritage museum next door to Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.  When we got to Christ Church Cathedral, there was a Mass being conducted and so we had time to wander around.  Dublinia is located next door to the Cathedral and so, of course, we wandered in for a look.

There are 3 main exhibits in Dublinia which looks at the Viking and medieval history of the city of Dublin. The whole museum is very interactive and a lot of fun for kids.

Dublinia viking

Viking History at Dublinia

The Viking section has recreations of a long ship and a home.  There are Viking outfits to try on as well as lots of cool information that’s presented in a fun way.

Dublinia pinterest image

Did you know that the Vikings took lots of Irish women as captives to Iceland?  Studies have shown that at least of 50% of Icelandic women are of Irish descent.  The running joke in Iceland is that the Vikings took all the pretty Irish women with them.

Dublinia viking horn

Did you know that Viking helmets did not actually have horns? The myth that Viking helmets had horns comes from the 19th century when a costume designer put horns on the helmet for the Wagner opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelung based on the ancient Norse stories.dublinia viking helmet

Medieval History at Dublinia

The second exhibition is looks at medieval Dublin up to the 16th century with sets showing a rich merchant’s house, a medieval street and a medieval faire.  Coincidentally our kids were studying the Black Death at school and seeing reconstructions of what they were reading about was interesting.

My children loved the medieval faire reconstruction because they were so many interactive exhibits.  For example, they got to play medieval games, wear medieval outfits and try their hand at writing like a monk.

dublinia medieval faire game

A knight could not see much wearing this shield and it was very heavy. My kids decided that they would prefer wearing a Norse helmet.

Dublinia medieval helmet

The cures for random diseases was fascinating as well as the diseases themselves.  Thank goodness for modern-day antibiotics.

Dublinia medieval fair medicine

Learning Archaeology at Dublinia

The third part of Dublinia looks at how archaeology works and dovetails with history and science.  We can say the kids had never really thought about the mechanics of archaeology before.  You could also listen to what Dubliners sounded like through the ages.  We could hear how the language sounded similar and yet so different.

We loved the Viking & medieval history of Dublin displayed at Dublinia so much we stayed for a couple of hours.  By the time that we left Dublinia, Christ Church Cathedral had closed.  We’ll have to see it on another trip to Dublin.  I have heard that Dublin does a great Halloween festival based on the traditional pagan festival of Samhain!

Details for Visiting Dublinia:

Dublinia is located at St. Michaels Hill in Dublin and open every day.  You can buy discounted tickets to both Christ Church Cathedral and Dublinia together.  Single tickets for adults cost €8.50 for adults, €5.50 for children or €24 for a family of four.  When we went the museum wasn’t crowded but its site says that it gets about 125,000 visitors a year.

2 thoughts on “Exploring Dublin’s Viking and Medieval Past at Dublinia”

    1. My kids loved it! We went in on a whim because Christ Church was having a service and we were killing time. So nice to find unexpected cool places!

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