Monday, October 28, 2013

Kerry County Museum, Tralee, Ireland

The Kerry County Museum has a lot to recommend it. What caught our attention is the Medieval Experience exhibit, which boast of the sights, sound, and smells of Tralee in 1450 A.D. Lots of other fun and interesting exhibits are there as well.

Kerry County Museum

The children were sold by the yuck factor (the brochure features a man emptying his chamber pot out a window) or at least J was. As soon as we entered, he wanted to go to that exhibit right away. So we went down the stairs and began to explore the past.

The displays were quite impressive. We had a sense of walking down a medieval street with various merchants selling their wares.

Waking up

Shopping at the butcher

Boar in the street!

Iron mongers (that's a real girl on the right)

It wasn't long before we found the infamous chamber pot incident in real life (so to speak). L was worried and wouldn't walk on that side of the street. Truth be told, the smell was not particularly noticeable.

Look out below!

Toward the end of the exhibit we saw a pub with nice music playing.

Medieval pub

At the very end we saw what brought an end to Tralee in 1580. The British invasion, which culminated in the Earl of Desmond burning the town down.

Here comes the end!

The town has since been rebuilt and is a thriving community. The port is too valuable to let go to waste.

On the same floor is an archeological and forensic exhibit. The archeology bit is a big sand box with bones (replicas) and shells that children can dig out with brushes. J and L loved this.

Archeology in action!

L and J check out a discovery

Nearby is a glass case with a leg bone. The bone is part of a larger display about the death of the original owner the bone. He came to a violent death, and a vicious one at that. The marks on the rest of the skeleton are revealing. Both blunt cuts and thin slices can be seen on the bone, suggesting both an axe and a sharp sword were used to attack the man.

Forensics overview of the dead man

Bone with gashes

Detailed explanation

Perhaps more depressing was this display on how artifacts wind up in the ground for archeologists to dig out. The 21st century samples are rather shameful.

I guess it's always junk that gets left in the ground

Finally we went upstairs to see exhibits the adults wanted to see. The Museum Gallery goes over Kerry county history from the earliest settlers around 8000 B.C. to the successful recovery of independent statehood in the early 1900s. The children didn't have too much patience here so we had to rush through, jumping from the Bronze Age to the Victorian Age in mighty leaps.

Bronze age items

Victorian dress and instrument

Upstairs also has a display of the dresses of the Roses of Tralee, women who were chosen during a late August festival in the town to represent the town and Irish culture to the greater world. The contest is more about personality and ambassadorship than beauty (no swimsuit competition) and is open to all women of Irish descent.

The museum is definitely worth a visit and it is also co-located with the local tourist information office.

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