Cate McCurry, PA
An exhibition on the geology of Ireland that tells the story of how scientists have developed their understanding of the planet over the last 175 years has opened in Dublin.
Originally scheduled for opening in November 2020, the exhibition was developed by the National Museum of Ireland in partnership with Geological Survey Ireland to celebrate the museum’s 175th anniversary.
The exhibition explores how geology is relevant to everyday life, demonstrates the central role both rock and minerals play in how we interact with the world and informs visitors about the effects of climate change.
The history of exploring Ireland’s mineral wealth started in the 1700s and the excavations from these explorations formed the founding collections of what is now the National Museum of Ireland.
The exhibition is centred on a large floor map of Ireland, showing the variety of rocks and other deposits that determine the landscape and how in turn this dictates everything from potential construction materials to the properties of our drinking water.
The exhibition also contains many objects from everyday lives that have a very specific and meaningful link to geology.
Visitors will also have an opportunity to understand better the various hazards like rising sea levels, intense and frequent storms, earthquakes and water shortages, many of which are responses to the effects of climate change that we already see in Ireland.
Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan, who launched the Down to Earth exhibition at Collins Barracks, said: “Geologists are in a unique position to understand the scale and significance of climate change and its effects over time.
“Our geologists also play an important role in helping us find solutions, including mapping the seabed which will help us prepare for the development of offshore wind.”
Director of the National Museum of Ireland Lynn Scarff said: “This exhibition makes tangible the rich geological history of our island as well as how that history informs and enables current scientific work.
“We know that a greater understanding of our planet is crucial to our ability to tackle rapid climate change.
“However beyond the data we need to engage hearts and minds on the rich natural history and biodiversity of our island, Down to Earth offers NMI an opportunity to partner with our best geological scientists and engage audiences with our exquisite geological collection.”