Turlough Park House is home to the National Museum of Ireland's Folklife Collection. It is the only branch of the National Museum outside of the capital and it complements the other three sites at Kildare Street, Merrion Street and Collins Barracks in Dublin, which each house different aspects of the national collections.
Careful renovations of the 18th century house, revival of the elaborate formal gardens and the artificial lake or Turlough and the creation of complimentary buildings have created a unique destination for visitors.
Designed by the distinguished Irish architect, Thomas Newenham Deane, in the High Victorian style, the house was built in 1865 and the park is the site of the first De Burgo Castle. It was subsequently home to the Fitzgerald family, whose estate ran to over 3,000 acres in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The folklife collection comprises a wide range of artefacts dealing with agriculture, fishing and hunting, clothing and textiles, architecture, furniture, fittings, trades and crafts, transport, sports and leisure and religion. In total the collection numbers some 50,000 objects and serves to provide an understanding of the social history of Ireland over the past 200 years.
Adjacent to the house the newly created exhibition galleries will portray the lives of ordinary people in rural Ireland, emphasising the continuity of traditions of lifestyles, which were established for several hundreds of years and lasted well into the twentieth century. The story will be told under three headings:
Incorporating sections dealing with Folklife and Folklore and how the collection of the Museum began.
Will put the main exhibition into a historical context with emphasis on the periods immediately after the Famine, the Land war, Land League and Home Rule agitation of the late nineteenth century and the resolution of the land question in post independent Ireland.
Will look at the way of life in rural Ireland and how it was influenced by landscape and resources.
The Museum will provide a range of amenities on site from extensive parking, indoor and outdoor seating, a speciality café and an exclusive retail operation selling both museum branded products and Irish design and hand-crafted products. A dedicated educational facility is also planned to enhance the experience of the collections for visitors.
The new museum facility is an important link in the necklace of impressive tourist attractions stretching along the West Coast through Galway as far as the Ceide Fields near Ballycastle and no visit to the West would be complete without a visit to Turlough Park.
Admission to the National Museum of Ireland at Turlough Park is free and the museum is open all year round during the following hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10am to 5pm Sunday- 2pm to 5pm Closed Mondays
From Castlebar follow the signs for Swinford on the N5 and turn off for Turlough, 3 miles outside the town.
Telephone: Lo-call 1890 687 386 or 353 (0)1 648399
Fax 01 6777450