This is a first-rate, award winning museum providing well lit displays filled with artefacts and depictions which bring to life a legacy that stretches back to stone age hunter/gatherers of 8,000 years ago. Its commitment to excellence is evident even before the visitor leaves the first neolithic settlers and moves on to the Metal Ages, the Iron Lords, early Christian Ireland, and the Gaelic chiefs. And no surprise to learn that this compact educational jewel has received numerous awards, such as the Council of Europe Museum Prize and the Museum of the Year Award for Best Collections Care...and all this in a town of just over 6,000 people.
But what the curators are really excited about are the recent digs at Carrickmacross where well-preserved remains of dwellings were unearthed as a result of new road construction. Among the ruins was evidence of three houses dating between 3900-3700 B.C, a double ditch ring fort of the 7th century A.D. and a burial plot with some 20 bodies from the early Medieval period (7th to 8th century A.D.).
No wonder, then, that the museum in association with the National Roads Authority presented a major exhibition of the results from these 2003 bypass excavations, titled “Life and Death in Monaghan.” To go with it, the museum designed and produced a state of the art brochure that will be a treasured keepsake.
As the museum states in its literature, it does, indeed, seem to be “at the heart of the community, reflecting not just where we have come from but where we are going.”
How to get there:
From Dublin, take N2; from Belfast, take A3 to Monaghan Town. The museum is located across from the Market House, a town landmark on Park Street.
Monday – Friday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday—12:00 pm to 5:00 pm, closed Sunday
Monaghan County Museum
1-2 Hill Street
Monaghan Town, Co. Monaghan
T: 047 82928
Written by Joy Davis - Summer of Travel 2007