Monaghan County Museum
Considered one of the finest in Ireland, the Monaghan County Museum houses a vast collection of exhibits, ranging from megalithic artifacts to contemporary art. Winner of both the National and European Museum Awards in 1980, it serves the county and the entire country as a preservation site for many treasures. Visitors come here from all over the world to see the Cross of Clogher, a religious relic made of bronze that dates from the 15th century. Also impressive is the collection of medieval tools and trinkets recovered from nearby crannogs (lake dwellings). There are also items from the Stone Age such as artifacts from wedge and portal tombs, and examples of Bronze Age metal works. Other exhibits include those chronicling the progress of the area’s lace-making industries, as well as coin-making and other local crafts. Historical records are preserved in the areas dedicated to the story of monastic life, as well as the “Gaelic Chiefs” section, which tells the story of the ruling clans of the period between 700AD and 1600. A section entitled “The New Order” chronicles the events of the 17th to 19th centuries, including the division of land and changes in ownership. In all, the museum is divided into ten sections, ranging from the Stone Age to the present. Its gallery boasts an extensive permanent art collection, and regularly features works by local artists. Almost 70,000 items are on display in the two Victorian houses that serve as the Museum’s current location. Expect to see just about anything, from the remains of the now extinct Giant Irish Red Deer to one of Ireland’s first television sets.