Culture. Some people are into the “finer” aspects of it, others are not.

Whether you like to regale people with your knowledge of Jack B Yeats’ use of the pallet knife in his painting, or the last time you were in a museum was on a school tour (no judgement either way), galleries and museums are some of the of first amenities to open back up in the easing of restrictions.

With intercounty travel back on the cards and the whole country mad for a day out, museums and galleries could get a lot of love in the next few weeks.

With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at a selection of museums and galleries around the country that are well worth a visit. Many of these also have an agricultural theme.


Irish Agricultural Museum, Wexford

Johnstown Castle, Co Wexford.

First up on the list, and no great surprise really, is the Irish Agricultural Museum. It’s located on the grounds of Johnstown Castle, Co Wexford.

At present visits to the castle are unavailable, but the museum, housed in the castle estate’s farm buildings, is open. Along with the gardens, walks and playground. The museum’s contents is wide reaching, covering everything from farm machinery to traditional trades and country kitchens. The first room you enter on the self-guided tour is packed with restored tractors, carts and ploughs, and it goes from there. There’s also an exhibition on the Famine. Entry to grounds and museum costs €9 for an adult and €4 for a child.

The Irish Workhouse Centre, Galway

Portumna Workhouse. \ David Ruffles

Located in the town of Portumna, Co Galway, the Irish Workhouse Centre tells the story of the workhouse or poorhouse. The museum itself is housed in what was Portumna Workhouse, describing its history and heritage, as well as that of that workhouse institution as a whole. There were 163 workhouses in Ireland, which operated for 80 years, from 1840-1920. Known as a dreaded place to enter, people went there work in exchange for food when they couldn’t support themselves. The exhibition tells of a very sad and stark chapter in Irish history. Pre-booking on 090 945 200 is advised. Guided tours are available. The cost for an adult is €7 or €15 for family of two adults and two children.

The Butter Museum, Cork

Housed in the former Cork Butter Market, The Butter Museum in Cork city is unique from others on this list in that it looks at a very specific entity. Two guesses what that is? The museum details Ireland’s prolific butter trade, beginning with the central role dairy farming played and continues to play in Ireland. It charts the Butter Exchange in 19th century Cork, the craft traditional home butter making and the success of Kerrygold as a brand. The entire ground floor displays traditional butter making equipment. There’s a video presentation on the Irish dairy industry from the 1960s to the current day and a gallery dedicated to the culture of cattle in early Ireland. The cost is €4 for an adult and €3 for a child.

Limerick City Gallery of Art

A contemporary collection of art, Limerick City Gallery of Art is situated in the Carnegie Building in the People’s Park. Its permanent collection contains 831 works from 456 artists. It traces the development of modern Irish art in painting, sculpture, drawing, photography and new media. The gallery also displays the national collection of contemporary drawing and the Michael O’Connor poster collection, which comprises of 2,800 items of historical and cultural significance. There are a number of temporary exhibitions in the museum at present, among them, At Home on the Farm, which was previously featured on these pages. By artist Mary Burke, it’s inspired by her trips to Co Limerick farms. It runs until the end of June. Admission is free.

Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford

Lismore Castle.

Located on the grounds of Lismore Castle, Co Waterford, Lismore Castle Arts was set up as a not-for-profit initiative in 2005 to promote contemporary visual art in Ireland. Its permanent collection contains works by Rodger Hiorns, Eilís O’Connell and Franz West. It hosts a wide range of exhibitions, from those of international significance and some much smaller. It has hosted works by leading artists including Matthew Barney, Gerard Byrne and Dorothy Cross. A second space was opened in the town of Lismore in 2011. St Carthage Hall is a former church and is used as an exhibition space. Tickets must be booked in advance on Entry for an adult is €8.50 and €6.50 for a child.

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