Armagh County Museum is a treasury of local history and art that uniquely reflects the character of the region known as the "Orchard County". The museum features many permanent as well as travelling exhibits.
Built in 1834, the building was first used as a school. Some years later, it was occupied by the Armagh Natural History and Philosophical Society. Many of the items included in the museum's current exhibits were passed down from the Society when the museum opened its doors in 1937.
Items In the Museum Collection
- Prehistoric pottery, tools, metal works and burial materials, as well as artefacts from the early Christian period
- Relics of local history such as the metal skull that was once used to publicize the hanging of prisoners at the nearby courthouse and gaol
- Paintings - including portraiture and local landscape, by artists such as George William Russell, John Luke, and J.B. Vallely
- Exquisite sculptures, pieces of furniture and ceramics
- Historical clothing from the 18th century to current styles fashioned for men, women and children
- Crafts, including local items created using the time-honoured technique of straw weaving, such as a mummer's mask
- Military displays from the 1790s including glass, weapons, uniforms as well as militia accessories, and items from the Royal Irish Fusiliers
- Exhibits of Natural History, including the taxidermy of several local species of badger, fox, rabbit, squirrels, and birds, and local fossils in limestone
- Wooden utensils, such as drinking containers and bowls, some of which date to the Bronze Age
- Viking artefacts of clothing and jewellery commemorating the many raids, which took place in the region
Armagh Railway Tragedy
One display tells the story of a local railway tragedy from 1889. A Sunday school class was taking the train on a trip to the seashore when it met misfortune. The train stalled near Armagh, and in an effort to clear the track, the cars were disconnected. Part of the train lost braking ability and crashed into another train head on, resulting in 89 deaths and over 400 injured passengers.
The Armagh County Museum also has an extensive reference library filled with local archives and collections of photos and maps of area historical topics.
Armagh County Museum. Image: Dizzyink