The museum covers the history of Ireland from the Stone Age to the Late Middle Ages. It features displays on prehistoric Ireland, including Bronze Age work in gold, early medieval church treasures of Celtic art, Viking Ireland and Medieval Ireland. There are special displays of items from Ancient Egypt, Cyprus and the Roman world, and special exhibitions are regularly mounted.
The Museum has a number of large permanent exhibits, mainly of Irish historical objects and also a few smaller exhibits on the ancient Mediterranean. The prehistoric Ireland section contains artifacts from the earliest period of human habitation in Ireland, just after the Last Ice Age, up to the Celtic Iron Age.
The central area of the museum contains one of the finest collections of Bronze Age gold objects in Europe. The gold work ranges in date between 2200 BC and 500 BC, most of it probably being jewellery, but with many objects of unknown function.
The exhibit Kingship and Sacrifice, contains many of Ireland’s bog bodies, as well as Celtic artifacts. The well-preserved bodies, which have been found in Irish bogs from the 19th century until the present day, are believed to have been ritualistically sacrificed.