National Print Museum

Old printing press, by Kevin Lawver

Old printing press, by Kevin Lawver

Located in a former Garrison Chapel on Haddington Rd in a very old part of Dublin known as Beggar’s Bush, this museum’s aim is to preserve machinery from the pre-computer era of printing when ‘hot metal’ printing was the norm.

As many of the older print houses in Ireland changed to more modern equipment, much of the more interesting machinery ended up here, some of them very ornate and beautiful of themselves, and there are many examples of the output of metal printing.

The machine on which the proclamation of Irish independence was printed and an early 19th centruy Columbian press are among the highlights.

The museum acts as an archive and resource centre for those researching the history of print in Ireland and also has a large catalogued collection of woodblocks which are a valuable source for artists and graphic designers.

Old metal letters, by Kevin Lawver

Old metal letters, by Kevin Lawver

Among the most beautiful things on display, especially for anyone with an interest in typograhy, are the metal letters which were painstaking placed into position for each printing job.

If you time your visit to coincide with one of the regular workshops or handling sessions you’ll have the rare opportunity to work with the equipment and produce your own printed work – and for all the efficiency of modern printing, there is something really lovely about a page produced in this way.

A fascinating place which will give those too young to remember anything other than computerised printing methods a real insight into what a laborious job it used to be.

Visiting the Museum

The museum is open all year round, from 9am-5pm on weekdays and from 2pm to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. There is a decent restaurant in the museum and it is a good place to stop for lunch.

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Article updated: March 31, 2017

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