The Museum houses special displays of artifacts from Egypt, and the Roman world, augmented at regular intervals by special exhibitions of Ancient art.
Among the many outstanding early Irish exhibits are such masterpieces as the Ardagh Chalice, the Derrynaflan Chalice, the Derrynaflan Paten, the Moylough Belt Shrine, the Petrie Crown, the Tully Lough Cross, the Cross of Cong and the Tara Brooch, as well as the Broighter Hoard (including the gold Broighter collar and the gold Broighter boat, complete with anchor, mast, rowing benches, oars, and boathook.) Several of these Celtic Irish treasures would have been lost or melted down but for the intervention of archeological experts (eg.
George Petrie) from the Royal Irish Academy and the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland.
These items in the National Museum of Ireland help to trace the development of Irish visual arts from the Newgrange era to the medieval Irish renaissance following the eclipse of Rome and the Dark Ages.
Discovered: Dooyork, County Mayo Date: 200 BCE - 100 CESilver Spiral Rings Part of a large number of gold, silver and bronze ornaments and implements found near the famous Passage Tomb of Newgrange, these rings have three coils decorated with transverse notches on the upper and lower edges.