Today I took the kids to a tour of the Irish Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire. Part of Heritage Week the tour was FREE and VERY informative. The guide was excellent and spent a long time explaining each significant event. Some tragic events were heart wrenching, especially this one told on the Dun Laoghaire’s RNLI page.
He first started off explaining that the building which the museum is now located was an active Church of Ireland parish from 1837 to 1971 purposely built for merchants. A select number of seats below were reserved for those in the merchant marine and all of the balcony were reserved for the English Navy. In fact, everyone had to attend church every Sunday, even prisoners so they had two areas in the far corner reserved for the prisoners who were brought in in chains. In 1971 it was reconsecrated and turned into a museum and in the Celtic Tiger boom it was given a grant for a major refurbishment to take it to where it is today.
The 10-tonne, Bailey Optic from Howth, donated from Irish Lights was VERY impressive. The whole top assembly floats on a bed or mercury and needs very little energy to keep it moving. It now uses an electrical motor, but the original mechanism which drove the music was by being wound by one of three lighthouse keepers.
The stain glass windows behind it and throughout the museum were impressive – of course, my camera phone does not do them justice.
The kids tried Morse Code where they sent messages to each other and learned to write their name in code. They did this at the Henry Blogg Museum in Cromer.
Overall we had a great time and the tour was very informative. I highly recommend anyone who has an interest in the historical aspect of the sea, particularly what happened in the Irish maritime history visit this museum. It is on the DART line and nearby People’s Park so it would be great to visit it on an a day when the market it on.