Kerry County Museum

Tralee’s Kerry County Museum was started as an initiative to preserve and share Ireland’s County Kerry’s culture. It has been accredited by the Heritage Council’s Museum Standards Programme for Ireland and features over 4,000 objects related to the region’s cultural and historical heritage.

Kerry County Museum is spread over 1,750 m and located at Ashe Memorial Hall, Denny Street, Tralee, County Kerry. You can visit from Tuesday through Saturday between 9:30 am to 5:00 pm for €6 per person (children are free but must be accompanied by an adult). It is well worth a visit as the museum is a huge hit among children.

The Medieval Experience

What people lived like in Tralee in 1400 AD at Kerry Museum
The Medieval Experience

Back in 1991, when the museum had just opened its doors, it focused on archaeology to help visitors experience medieval times in County Kerry. Kerry County Museum’s first section, ‘The Medieval Experience’ showcases a recreated medieval town on the lower ground floor of the Ashe Memorial Hall. The gallery is undoubtedly the most entertaining and engrossing section of the museum.

You can walk through a recreation of 1450 AD’s Tralee, with the whole experience in terms of sight, sound, and smell.

The walkthrough element is a winner for almost all visitors, and I definitely recommend the museum for at least this section, if you don’t have time for the others. Medieval Village is located on the ground floor and typically takes about 40 minutes

Main Gallery

The museum’s Main Gallery was opened the following year in 1992 and focused on historical and archaeological artefacts and exhibits. A tour of this section typically takes about 40 minutes. You can expect some interesting archaeological artefacts (one dates back to 3000 BC) and life-sized recreations so you can visualize life back in the days. The gallery is interesting, as well as informative.

Mock up of Church Island Cahersiveen at the Kerry County Museum
Mock up of Church Island Cahersiveen

Special Exhibition Gallery

A Special Exhibition Gallery and other temporary exhibitions were later added to the museum. The Special Exhibition Gallery features ‘Casement in Kerry,’ which details Roger Casement’s life journey from a crown servant to a humanitarian and eventually a revolutionary.

Along with artefacts, you even have educational and beautiful illustrations to set the story for you. The Rodger Casement gallery is located on the first floor and typically takes 45 minutes.

Collection Highlights

Museum staff and friends have curated a list of the most interesting artefacts and objects so visitors can enjoy a random sample. The list includes a 4000 BC polished stone axehead, a 3000 BC horn, a medieval horn spoon, the 1916 proclamation, and hair hurling balls dating back to the 12th century, among others.

The Gallipoli Project

Copper the Miner at the Kerry County Museum
Copper the Miner

The Gallipoli Project is an education project and part of World War I centenary commemorations. Schools and other heritage organizations are participating in the project, wherein students research individual soldiers and families during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 – 16 with the help of museum and archive collections.

The National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History coordinates the Gallipoli Project in Ireland, in association with the Kerry County Museum.

An Unforgettable Experience for Kids

There is no doubt children will fall in love with this place. The galleries and tours are actually crafted with the younger audiences in mind, and there’s so much they can do to enjoy themselves as well as learn.

Main Gallery

Kids can don a costume to look like they just stepped out of 15th century Tralee. A must-try for children who love to play dress-up. Adults are welcome to dress up as well.

Main Gallery and Tom Crean Room

Tom Crean Room at the Kerry County Museum
Tom Crean Room
Sir Rodger Casement Room at the Kerry County Museum
Sir Rodger Casement Room

Children (5-12) can follow ‘Pangur Bán’s Trail’ to find interactive displays that provide interesting information. The trail will reveal Celtic myths, and archaeological puzzles, a Stone Age survival kit, and much more. Who knows, your child may learn to play Viking chess!

Archaeology Hall

The Bone Investigators workshop is closed at present due to Covid 19 restrictions.

The Bone Investigators Workshop at the Kerry County Museum
The Bone Investigators Workshop

The ‘Bone Investigators’ workshop is such an absolute delight for children (7-12) that the activity alone more than justifies a trip to the museum. They are made to dress up in vests, hats, and kneeling pads and given trowels and brushes to get a hands-on experience of being archaeologists.

They can dig up a box and ‘discover’ Viking skeletons with proper grave goods. Moreover, they even learn how archaeologists interpret their findings. There are many other cool activities for children as well, such as examining a 1000-year old Viking tooth and solving a real-life medieval murder mystery.

Engaging Events

There are also several interactive and engaging seasonal events and activities organized especially for children. Some of these include art and craft workshops that can run for 2-3 hours and cost around €8 per child (includes art and craft supplies).

Is the Kerry County Museum wheelchair accessible?

Yes it is. They will leave you in the side door and there is a lift to take you to all the exhibits.

Conclusion

Tralee’s Kerry County Museum engagingly presents interesting information to engross visitors of all ages. Depending on how much Irish history and culture fascinate you, you could spend an hour or even three at this carefully and thoughtfully curated museum.

Their special exhibits and activities for children make history fun for kids, so I most definitely suggest you stop by for a couple of hours if you have children.

Check out my web pages on the Ring of Kerry Drive, The Skellig Ring and Slea Head Drive.