Five museums to visit in Northern Ireland.
It is surprising how few of us ‘locals’ actually visit the cultural centres of our country even though they are hardly any distance from us.
Why not check one of these museums out if you have a spare Saturday with nothing else planned?
Located on Queens Island and at the entrance of Belfast Lough, Titanic Belfast is a monument to Belfast’s alluring and notable maritime hitory and based on the site of Harland & Wolff, the shipyard which made Belfast famous for its shipbuilding skills and the building of the ‘White Star Line’.
The museum itself tells the sad story of the Titanic ‘ the unsinkable ship’, going through the history of the shipbuilding boom in Belfast, the shipyard which constructed the giant, its luxurious fittings, its maiden launch, that unfortunate night and all of its aftermath.
Even the design of the building reflects Belfast’s once industrial might and shipbuilding history with its angular shape to mimic that of a ships prow.
Located in the beautiful Botanic Gardens of Belfast, the Ulster Museum is the largest and your most typical museum to be found in Northern Ireland, its forms part of the ‘National Museums Northern Ireland‘ network.
The museum boasts a wide variety of galleries detailing the history of Northern Ireland from the very early to the modern, just some of the topics include fine/applied art, archaeology, treasure from the Spanish Armada, local history and industrial archaeology.
If time is an issue, make sure to see the Egyptian room featuring Takabuti, a 2500 year old mummy and the Early Peoples Gallery showing the superb Celtic design from the Iron Age.
Ulster Folk & Transport Museum
The Ulster Folk Museum will bring you 100 years back in time and experience what life was like in Northern Ireland.
The Transport Museum explores the different methods of transport by land, sea and air from both past and present. The joint museum is located in Cultra, just 7 miles east of Belfast.
The Ulster Folk section features the village of ‘Ballycultra’, a stereotypical Ulster village you would have found in the 1900’s.
Interestingly, some buildings are actually originals that have been collected throughout Ireland and rebuilt brick by brick.
Visitors can enjoy activities like traditional cooking, printing, needlework and Irish craft.
The Transport branch has a range of exhibitions.
The Irish Railway collection tells over 150 years of railways history in Ireland that helped fuel the economy.
The Road Transport galleries have a collection of car, motorcycles, trams, and buses. One of the most memorable attractions is a ‘Back to the Future’ DeLorean car.
The X2: Flight exhibition also hosts a range of planes throughout its time.
Ulster American Folk Park
The open air museum is situated just outside Omagh, County Tyrone, it explores and tells the story of Irish emigration to America in the 18th, 19th and 20th century.
Visitors can see the day to day activities and skills of those who lived in the era such as traditional cooking, spinning, printing, blacksmithing and candle dipping.
The park is split into two sections, the ‘Old World’ and the ‘New World’.
The Old World themed in Ireland features your standard village during the era including a printing press, a bank, an old police barracks, a school and two churches.
Visitors then ‘sail’ through the ‘Brig Union’, a full sized replica of an immigrant sailing ship to reach the the New World which is themed in America during the time period that shows a typical American street with a tinsmith display, Virginia general store and the famous frontier.
Seamus Heaney HomePlace
The Seamus Heaney Homeplace can be found in the village of Bellaghy, home town and resting place of Seamus Heaney, it is 45 mintues from both Belfast and Derry City.
Seamus Heaney was a world class famous Irish poet, playwright and translator and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, his best known work is ‘Death of a Naturalist’.
The HomePlace is an impressive exhibition that interprets the brilliant work of Seamus Heaney.
Both floors of the building are covered in personal stories and possessions of Seamus, family photographs, words from close friends, famous figures and even recordings of Seamus reading his own work.
Northern Ireland’s museums rate amongst our best tourist attractions.