Kim Neinstedt

The Museums and Sights of Ireland

Kim Neinstedt - various, Ireland

The two weeks that I spent in Ireland was one of the most memorable experiences in my entire life.  I had never traveled anywhere further then the next state over from Michigan, so this was a huge step, not just in my education, but in my personal life as well.  I had the opportunity not only to visit Ireland—I was also able to visit many different museums there.  I am a Museum Studies minor at Central Michigan University, and going on a two-week program to see Irish museum practices first-hand was something like out of a dream! I, along with several other Museum Studies minor students, lived together and spent many days in Dublin, Galway, Cork, and the other great cities of Ireland.  We took advantage of the opportunity that was given to us to not just visit the museums of this beautiful country, but to experience a whole different and unique culture.  We stepped out of our comfort zone and it was something that I will truly never forget.


Nienstedt1 copy.jpgOne of the greatest museums that I had visited in Dublin was the National Museum of Ireland and three of its four locations: Archaeology, National History, and History museums.  My favorite by far was the Natural History museum.  This museum was built in the early 1800s in the heart of the city of Dublin and, since the late 1800s, it has almost not changed in any way.  This is very unique for museums, as they are always changing to fit the new standards, but this site is actually “a museum within a museum.”  The display cases and the animals sitting in them have been at a standstill as they were for well over a hundred years.  Not only did I get to experience this truly exceptional museum, our group was also taken on a behind-the-scenes tour of how the National Museum of Ireland cares for its hundreds of thousands of objects.  We were able to go on different floors of the museum and see the off-limits areas that housed objects that no one but the museum employees would see.  It was an amazing experience that I will always remember.


Nienstedt5 copy.jpgNot only did we visit museums on our trip, we had also gone to beautiful sites all over the country of Ireland.  One of my favorite places that I will probably ever visit in my entire life was the Cliffs of Moher near Galway.  The Cliffs of Moher was the most exceptional sight to see: the edge of the cliffs drop off into the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of feet below as the waves crash into the ancient rock.  Some of the areas were blocked off to prevent people from falling, but there was a part where we were able to stand inches from the edge.  The Cliffs of Moher were absolutely beautiful and honestly took my breath away.

Whether visiting museums or other areas in Ireland, this journey will forever resonate in my mind as a time in my life where I got to experience something different.  I was able to experience a new culture and gain new experiences.  I had so much fun in this beautiful place, and stepping out of my comfort zone was something I will always thank myself for doing.  I took a chance, and it paid off in enormous ways—studying abroad in Ireland was life-changing.