For budding scientists, we recommend a visit to the James Mitchell Museum, a geological museum based in downtown Galway, Ireland. Nicknamed “Galway’s Hidden Museum“, it is actually located within the University of Galway, and features over 8,000 geological objects discovered here in Ireland.
Let it be said: this museum is clearly one of the university’s oldest institutions. Indeed, the origins of the James Mitchell Museum date back to 1852!
At that time, the museum only housed the collections of William King, a great lover of rocks, minerals and fossils. This is an opportunity for the institution to present a complete overview of the geological specificities of Ireland, and to make them available to its students.
It was only later, in 1883, that Richard J. Anderson was appointed president of natural history, geology and mineralogy at the university. He then decided to use the collection to open a true museum of natural history, divided into three distinct wings, devoted to zoology, geology and paleontology.
After Anderson’s death, the museum evolved to focus on natural history, geology and mineralogy.
In 1921, Professor James Mitchell became head of the geology and mineralogy department at the university, a position he held until 1966. His remarkable work at the Museum earned him the name of the establishment renamed in his honour, following his impressive work in revalorizing the collections.
Don’t be surprised if you find that the museum is very small: it now occupies only one room, Victorian style, and contains several thousand specimens of rocks, fossils and minerals. This museum is the real HQ for students wishing to deepen their knowledge of Irish geology.
Although the entrance is not free, you should be able to visit it by requesting permission from the university.
Of particular note is the presence of some remarkable palaeontological collections. Among them, don’t miss to admire the Lyme Regis plesiosaurus, a German ichthyosaurus and the Kiltorcan flora of the county of Kilkenny. There’s a whole programme for history and rock lovers!
Monday to Friday from 10 am to 4 pm
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