Ireland’s National Maritime Museum is housed in Dun Laoghaire’s 180-year-old Mariners Church, directly opposite the new DLR Lexicon library and easily accessible by DART suburban train and several bus services. The museum’s greatest artefact is probably the building itself as it is one of a few custom built places of worship for seafarers remaining intact in the world to-day.

Experienced guides will bring you on a voyage of discovery enthralling you with stories of discovery, heroism, war and disasters at sea. You will learn about maritime history, exploration, navigation, radio, deep-sea cable technology, nature, wildlife and view art inspired by the sea.

See the 10-tonne revolving Baily Optic, try the electrified steam engine and pause to reflect at the Titanic exhibit, the re-created radio room, the Royal Navy prisoners docks and the war memorial. Try sailor’s knots, learn how they lift heavy weights, be photographed with the pirate, research in the library, visit the shop and café and much more.


To get an impression of the museum as a whole, visit our Google Tour.

Here are some highlights:

The Baily Optic

This working Optic is the light from Baily lighthouse in Howth, North Dublin. It was installed in 1902 and removed in 1972 when the lighthouse was modernised. The lighthouse was originally gas, then vapourised paraffin powered, the light was equivalent to 2,000,000 candle power. The optic now shines a lesser light over the museum. Bailey Optic Light, donated by Irish […]

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Captain Robert Halpin

Born in Wicklow on the 17th February 1836, son of James Halpin, innkeeper of Wicklow Bridge House. (Now known as Bridge Tavern)  He was the youngest of 13 children and first went to sea in 1847 at the age of 11. In June 1865 he was appointed Chief Officer of the Great Eastern. A behemoth of 22,000 tons and 680 […]

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Collecting our maritime heritage

Our staff are always happy to meet people who bring in objects or documents dealing with Ireland’s maritime heritage, whether to get an expert opinion, share a story or donate items to our collection. Please contact Roger Kirker at to make an appointment.

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The Great Eastern

When the Great Eastern was launched in 1858 it was the largest ship in the world. It was designed by a great Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunell. It was built at Milwall on the River Thames. There was no dry dock large enough for it, and it had to be built alongside the river and launched sideways. It took several […]

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Here’s a 3D view of the Museum
Kindly produced by Terry McDonagh.

The museum is run by volunteers who are also happy to show visitors around and share some of their stories about the history of the museum and its artefacts.

Please contact us to book a guided tour.

We also welcome school groups and provide special materials for educational visits. Please click here for more information.