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Six must see museums and exhibitions

Anna chooses her favourite places to visit in Ireland and the UK.

Written by Anna Carnegie | View this authors Twitter page and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

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*Disclaimer: Excuse the predominance of Dublin/London venues – I have not travelled as widely as I would like, but am always open to suggestions for sites to see elsewhere!

The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

For as long as I can remember, I have adored the Chester Beatty; located in the grounds on Dublin Castle, it is the ideal venue for a quiet afternoon. Not only is the permanent collection incredibly impressive; boasting a host of books and manuscripts from all over the world which date back centuries (the East Asia section is a personal favourite), it’s also the venue for some brilliant temporary exhibitions, film screenings, lectures and activity days. 

The Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

Like it or loath it (for me it’s the latter – sorry!), Guinness is one of those quintessentially Irish products. It’s no surprise then, that the storehouse is such a popular venue. I must confess only visiting at the behest of a UK-based friend, but I am so glad that I did. This interactive, modern and innovative exhibition had all of us enraptured throughout. Despite my dislike of the drink, it brought the process to life and really made me quite proud of our token drink. Also, if you’re into art, history, or if you’re of an age that you can remember them, there’s a fantastic selection of vintage Guinness advertisements which is definitely worth exploring.



Powerscourt House and Gardens, Wicklow

Not technically an exhibition – but certainly a sight to behold.  Once owned by Viscount Powerscourt, this beautiful estate is somewhere you could easily spend the whole day exploring. My personal penchant is for the magnificent gardens; which draw together a range of influences from across the globe – from France, to Italy to Japan – and also give us an insight into the families that lived in the grounds (the pet cemetery is an extremely poignant example). If the weather does not favour such exploration (let’s face it, we are still in Ireland after all), fear not! There is plenty to do indoors – you can take a tour of the great house, visit the dollhouse museum Tara’s Palace or do a bit of craft-inspired shopping. Don’t forget to check out the café either the cakes are to die for!

Powerscourt house and gardens

The Titanic Experience, Belfast

One word springs to mind when I think of this exhibition; incredible. I was expecting a lot from this one – but it managed to exceed my highest expectations. Not only does it provide a great insight into the Titanic story, it also casts the spotlight onto Belfast’s impressive industrial heritage. The graphics are amazing and the exhibition itself hugely interactive. There are so many different facets to the Titanic Experience that you won’t notice the time slipping by – be sure to keep an eye on the clock if you’ve got a train to catch!


Titanic experience Belfast

The Making of Harry Potter - Warner Bros Studio Tour, Watford

I am an unashamed Harry Potter enthusiast – lapping up both the books and films. It would be remiss of me then, not to include the studio tour on this list of favourites. If you’re in any way a fan (or just generally interested in filmmaking), I implore you to check this one out. The exhibition goes into every minute and fascinating detail behind the costume and set design for the films; also reconstructing infamous scenes and settings (Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts model are particularly astounding). The tour will make you think about the films in a whole new light - and appreciate just how much work went into bringing the series to life.

Dumbledore's office

National Portrait Gallery, London

If you have an entire afternoon to wile away, then this is the place for you. You see the single best – or worst (depending on your time commitments) - thing about the portrait gallery is the sheer amount on display. It is however, much more manageable than it’s more imposing neighbour, the National Gallery. Moreover – as much as I love the aforementioned Trafalgar Square landmark, there is, for me, something far more approachable and interesting about art in portrait form (this is a conclusion I came to after visiting the portrait gallery a few times – which demonstrates the persuasive power of the pieces on display). Not only can you see the likeness of famous faces such as Stephen Fry and Maggie Smith dotted about the place, the gallery is also host to some fantastic temporary exhibitions by up-and-coming artists. Having only discovered this one relatively recently, I see it as something of a hidden gem amongst the hustle and bustle of central London.

National Portrait gallery London


What places would be on your list? 

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Published Novem­ber 27th2013
Tags places to visit things to do boredom beaters
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