RICHARD HURLEY & ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS
Medieval Ireland Exhibition 1150-1550, National Museum, Dublin
Medieval Ireland 1150-1550, curated by the Irish Antiques Division, occupies a floor area of some 250m squared on the first floor of the National Museum of Ireland at Kildare Street, Dublin. It is a permanent exhibition and follows on directly from the existing Viking-age Ireland Gallery. The exhibition documents life in Ireland during the later Middle Ages, a period that saw great changes in Irish society - from church reform and the beginning of English colonisation of Ireland in the 12th century to the Refromation, the end of the Lordship of Ireland and Tudor conquest in the 16th.
The exhibition is treated thematically rather than chronologically. It is divided into three discrete galleries, using as a model the contemporary medieval three-fold division of society into those who fight - bellatores, those who work - laboratores and those who pray - oratores. Within these sections various themes are explored.
The total number of artefacts displayed is considerable - over 800, mostly small in scale and many of them fragmentary. Interpretive planning helps make the complex objects and ideas in the exhibition accessible to a diverse audience. Through fresh and imaginative interpretive structures, visitors explore the lives of nobles, clergy and workers living in late medieval Ireland. Interactives enable visitors to decode the layered imagery found in treasury objects, to appreciate the rituals of court culture and to investigate the expertise of skilled workers. Period quotations and illustrations, and stories of heroes and pilgrims and warriors, invite visitors to share a treasury of objects from Ireland, to imagine lives so different from our own. The design fully compliments the objectives of the Museum.