National museum to host medieval Glendalough Weekend

Glendalough

Medieval Glendalough forms the focus of activities at the National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street on Sat 12th and Sunday 13th November for Science Week.

The National Museum of Ireland- Archaeology (NMI) is excited to host a weekend of events centred on the display of the unique LEGO model of the valley of Glendalough and featuring the outputs from workshops held in County Wicklow over recent months, including LEGO mosaics and the longest LEGO wall ever made in Ireland, which has been made by the people of Co Wicklow.

Over the weekend of Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th November, visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to participate in LEGO workshops, handle replica objects relating to the archaeology of the valley, test their observational skills tracking the daily life of the valley’s inhabitants with an activity sheet, try colouring drawings of objects from the time period, and watch videos about the archaeology of the Valley.

Cllr Tommy Annesley, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, stated: “The Glendalough Monastic settlement is one of County Wicklow’s most iconic heritage sites and I welcome this collaboration with the National Museum which will promote awareness of this heritage to a wider national audience.” 

Made out of 44,388 bricks, the model shows how the monastic site might have looked in medieval times. Built by brick artist Jessica Farrell and inspired by archaeological discoveries about the valley, the LEGO© model includes displays of what daily life might have been like in the valley for monks and pilgrims, and references some of the objects on display at the National Museum’s Glendalough exhibition.

This summer members of the public visiting the model in local libraries throughout County Wicklow, and most recently at  the Arklow Maritime Museum, had the chance to see the model and take part in LEGO building workshops which were sponsored  by the Heritage Office of Wicklow County Council. Under the guidance of Jessica Farrell, participants made segments of a traditional stone wall in LEGO and created the longest wall made of LEGO in Ireland, over twelve metres in length.

Glendaloughinlego
Section of the Glendalough Lego model built by Jessica Farrell, Lego Master

The NMI commented: “We are delighted to work with Glendalough Heritage Forum to bring this model and associated activities to the public. It is an enjoyable way to learn about distant medieval times and imagine what daily life was like for those who lived in the Wicklow Valley over one thousand years ago. As the NMI opened an exhibition in 2020 showing the artefacts from the area it is especially interesting to see how they are included in the model including a shoe possibly left behind by a female pilgrim”.

The Glendalough LEGO model is an initiative of the Glendalough Heritage Forum, funded by the Heritage Council and supported by Wicklow County Council Heritage Office.

The Open Days will take place in the Ceramics Room, National Museum, Kildare Street, Dublin 2, on the  first floor, between 10am and 4:30pm on Saturday 12th of November and between 1pm and 4:30pm on Sunday 13th of November.

Please note that the Open Days are free with no booking required; however booking is required for the LEGO® workshops. These workshops are available for booking on Eventbrite, see https://www.museum.ie/en-IE/Museums/Archaeology/Events

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