This website is dedicated to the Museum Building in Trinity College Dublin. Conceived and erected between 1853 and 1857 by the Cork firm Dean and Woodward who also built the famous Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the building is one of the landmarks of Ruskinian Gothic architecture in Europe, as it is most remarkable for the abundant use of coloured stone in its interior and the breath-taking vista of the large central hall. The exterior and the capitals of columns inside exhibit exquisite ornamental carvings by the legendary master stonemasons John & James O’Shea from Cork, while the internal columns and staircase are made from marble and polished limestones. The central hall further boasts of geological exhibits, with the skeletons of male and female Giant Irish Deer in the entrance lobby.
What is truly outstanding about the Museum Building is that it is not just a Victorian architectural “fossil” worthy of historical interest but a functioning building today, housing the departments of geology, geography and engineering. Every now and then the hushed silence is disturbed by outbursts of clamour as students leave their lecture halls and the space becomes animated with habitual activity. This joyful forgetfulness of its age is too a part of the Museum Building’s experience and it is precisely this that makes it both a relic of the past and an integral part of the present, blending different epochs and timeframes
This website provides a virtual experience for discovering this magnificent building and leads the visitor on a virtual tour around the Main Hall, displaying historical information about various objects of interest. It also features a comprehensive gallery of beautiful images and filmed interviews with scholars discussing the building’s historical and architectural significance, as well as the role that the building fulfils today. Why is the Museum Building called the “Museum” building? What is the most interesting artefact in the Geological Museum’s collection? In what way is the building exemplary of Irish architecture? Answers to these and many more questions can be found here.
The creators of the website would like to express special gratitude to Dr. Patrick Wyse Jackson, Dr. Ronald Cox, Mr. Joseph O’Gorman and Dr. Christine Casey for agreeing to being interviewed and providing the most precious insight into the Museum Building.
This is a project conducted by a group of four students studying for MSc. in Interactive Digital Media in Trinity College Dublin.