If you take a closer look at what seems to be a plain stone church across from the hospital in Carlow, you’ll find an expansive military museum featuring over 3,000 items including uniforms, weapons, historic documents, and more.
Densely packed using all available space, the museum is colorful and informative, if a bit chaotically organized. The first exhibits showcase items from the 1916 Easter rebellion, but immediately after that, visitors will find battered UN helmets and Bluaba arrows from the Niemba ambush in 1960. Next guests encounter models and replicas from the Norman invasion at the start of the Middle Ages, followed by records showcasing Irish involvement in World War I.
Despite the historical meandering mandated by the museum’s close quarters, the exhibits remain consistent in their main goal of providing a human element to every war story. Filled with photographs, letters, and written anecdotes, the personal side of life in the Irish military is brought out in every section.
A big-hearted, yet a small-budgeted museum, tickets are likewise inexpensive. If you manage to arrive during a slow afternoon, you may be treated to an impromptu tour by staff.
Know Before You Go
Open from St. Patrick’s Day, 3/17, to Armistice Day, 11/11. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. (with a half-hour break from 1-1:30 p.m.), Sunday 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
€2 for students, €2.50 for ages 13-17, €3.50 for 18+