This is the place to get lost in on a rainy afternoon. Wander streets of Tralee in 1450 AD in the Medieval Experience exhibition on the ground. Discover the medieval way life through all your senses. Your nose will pick up on the open sewers, which, luckily, are simulated only. Stand beside the craftsmen as they make and sell their wares in the busy street marketplace. Hear the latest news. See what they ate. See how they entertained themselves in the Inn. Not much has changed over time.
The museum is also a showcase for artifacts illustrating Kerry’s history from the Stone Age into the 20th century. Here is a good place to walk through history in a more linear way.
And the museum has special, rotating exhibitions on the 2nd Floor. Featured this summer is an exhibition about William Melville, Spymaster. Born in Sneem, Co. Kerry, he has become one of the most famous detectives of the turn of the century. He was immortalized as James Bond’s boss “M” in the Bond series. Pull up your front row seat to modern criminal history.
How to get there
From Limerick, take N69 coastal drive to Tralee.
From Killarney, take N22 north to Tralee.
See www.buseireann.ie website for all current travel details and restrictions.
January – March: Tue-Fri 10AM-4:30PM
April – May: Tue-Sat 9:30AM to 5:30PM
June – August: Open daily, 9:30AM to 5:30PM
September – December: Tue-Sat 9:30AM to 5PM
Bank Holiday Weekends: Sun & Mon 10AM to 5PM
Adult 8 euro
Senior Citizen/Student 6.50 euro
Child 5 euro
Family (2 adults, 3 children) 22 euro
Bus tours 5 euro pp
Kerry County Museum
Ashe Memorial Hall
Tralee, Co. Kerry
Tel: 353 (0)66 712 7777
The Medieval Experience reminded me of a wax museum in Victoria, B.C. Life-like human replicas donning the popular styles of the time – seeing the actual clothing on their bodies, I noticed the simplicity of medieval fashion design. Clothing’s function and style was based primarily on the cut of the garment and symmetry. One slash here made a hood, a hole there was for an arm. Like a paper snowflake, the garment then unfolds around the body. The forms were posed in natural ways – all very real. Perhaps a little too real. It was difficult for me to find the exit because it was dark. You truly can get lost inside.
Allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy all. We arrived an hour before closing and fully experienced the ground floor only. It was not enough time. It is the sort of place to come back to the next day, spend a few hours, and become a walking encyclopedia of Irish history, thoroughly indoctrinated by the wonderful displays in the 2nd Floor Museum Gallery.
Written by Liz O' Malley - Summer of Travel 2007