By Ray Cleere
The National Museum of Ireland was founded under the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act of 1877. Previously the Museum’s collections were divided between Leinster House, which was originally the headquarters of the Royal Dublin Society, and the Natural History Museum in Merrion Street, which was built as an extension to Leinster House between 1856 and 1857. Under the Act, the Government at the time purchased the museum buildings and collections. To provide storage and display space for the Leinster House collections, the Government quickly implemented plans to construct a new, custom-built museum on Kildare Street and on August 29, 1890, 125 years ago, the new museum opened its doors to the public for the first time.