Today we took advantage of the holidays and decided on a day trip to Dun Laoghaire. The National Maritime Museum had been on my list for a while, and we decided to make a day out of it. We parked in the car park attached to the Lexicon Library, which is pricey at 2.40 an hour, but they do a daily rate of 6, so if you are staying for a while this ends up being quite good value. We arrived just as they were opening to a warm welcome, and it set the tone for what was to be a fun day.
They had a colouring station set up for the kids, which they absolutely adored, and gave daddy and I a few precious moments having a nose around some of the displays. Its great to expose the kids to so many things, but you rarely get time yourself to fully read any of the information. My eldest hit the why phase with a bang, and three years later, we are still in the middle of it. His thirst for learning is to be admired, but leaves little space for me to absorb things.
They had specific displays for the children to interact with, knots, bells, an engine that you could turn on, hand operated foghorn, morse code, it was truly an immersive experience for them. And one that made it easier for daddy and I to enjoy too, nothing is more stressful than a room full of priceless artifacts and a curious toddler.
The exhibits are well laid out and informative, a wealth of information. There is also a library of rare maritime books at the back, and plenty of books for older children too. They have regular displays, and perhaps one of most popular is the lighthouse optic from the Bailey Lighthouse, donated by the Commission of Irish Lights.
We saw it rotating when we were there, and it was simply spellbinding. I could have stayed all day and watched it. It was a little over the toddlers head, but my five year old was completely taken with it.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and would highly recommend, it is not only the definition of family friendly, but fascinating to delve into our fascinating maritime history.A family ticket is 12 euro, and they have a café on site. The museum is run by volunteers and they are helpful without being intrusive, and their enthusiasm is contagious. It genuinely refreshing to find a place that is actually child friendly and that takes such pride and joy in education.
We took a stroll after to sandycove and nipped in for fish and chips.
A perfect way to while away a summers day.
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