About a week ago, someone we met happened to recommend the Museum of Country Life to us. We knew the drive was about an hour, so we had it put it off. Today, since we had no other plans, we decided to venture out to Turlough Park to check out the museum.
This is a wonderful spot to visit as a family, especially with younger children, and the best part is it's free for the adults and children. We learned a lot about the Irish history, and the kids had a great time. There are lots of items that are left out, and the you are encouraged to check them out up close and personal with a sign that says: "Please Touch".
The museum focuses a lot on the country life in Ireland, before and after the famine. There are a variety of different sections, such as: professions, agricultural tools, and basket weaving techniques.
I found the description for the school master most interesting:
"The master was the most respected man in the town, feared alike but his pupils and their parents. His appearance in the noisiest streets brought immediate silence. Most of his pupils came from very poor families and he was determined to make something of them whether they liked it or not. He knew what was good for them and even if it meant teaching by terror, they got it."
I also liked a few "fact" posters around the museum which talked about summer months, and how the poor would generally suffer in July, as the stored food would run out but the new crops were not quiet ready yet for harvest. Makes you think about how much we take for granted!
There was a special exhibition about the police force in Ireland on the basement floor. They had some gear and outfits on display, and they had a section for taking mug shots and doing finger prints. It was actually a fairly crowded section and we had to wait a bit, but we had Kian write his name on the little blackboards they had and do a mug shot. The numbers for the height though didn't seem quite right, but it was all silly nonetheless.
The museum grounds are also very beautiful and lots of fun for the kids. There are few sculptures around and many gorgeous flowers.
After the museum, we stopped in Westport on our way home and had dinner at a pizza restaurant, followed by dessert at the Maple Moose, a cute little place worth a visit.
This was our last day of sightseeing in Ireland. Tomorrow we will have to start packing and saying goodbye to the good friends we have made here.