My Top Ten Accessible Sites In Ireland
Click on interactive map for accessible venues


The Chester Beatty Library. Located at the back of Dublin Castle this fascinating museum hosts the Oriental collection of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, whose life-size statue greets you at the door and can be touched, ideal for the visually impaired. The museum has a lift which is large enough for any wheelchair. The buttons feature Braille and the lift speaks in English and Irish.
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The National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. Wheelchair users are catered for to enjoy the Irish and global art as wheelchairs are available to borrow and the doors are accessible. The gallery itself is free admittance but a special exhibition has a charge, which is reduced for seniors and people with disabilities.
The large lift between floors does not have Braille on the buttons but the numbers on them are raised and the lift speaks the floors. As some galleries are separated by a higher or lower level with just a few steps, small wheelchair lifts have been installed as you see in my photo.
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The Medieval Mile Museum in Kilkenny. Showing the history of the city and its people, from early kings to William Marshall, onwards to the present. This museum is housed in St. Mary's Church and makes great use of the restored building, with an added floor, a lift and restrooms, all in the building.
The entire museum is accessible, and the wheelchair accessible restroom has a pull cord to the floor in case someone falls and needs help.
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The Ulster Museum in Belfast. The Museum occupies five floors and has lifts to all, with some displays that sweep up through the whole building and others that are on themed floors. Among many interesting objects are a cannon from a Spanish Armada shipwreck, a skeleton of an Edmontosaurus dinosaur and a stuffed champion Irish wolfhound. There is also an accessible café.
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The National Museum of Archaeology in Dublin. This imposing museum contains treasures from archaeology, from Stone Age to the Vikings. Look for displays of Bronze Age weaponry, Celtic gold and bronze, the famous bog bodies, Christian artefacts and more.
Public transport can get you to Kildare Street or disabled parking is available locally with display of a wheelchair badge. The accessible restrooms are on the ground floor – currently there is no lift to access the first floor. I'm delighted that guests can borrow wheelchairs to get around, and there are tactile exhibits which are ideal for visually impaired people. The staff will be happy to guide visitors to these items.
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I recommend a cosy café we found in Kilkenny's Medieval Mile streets. The Fig Tree Café is near the new museum in St Mary's Church. We noticed an accessible door on our visit, and seating reserved for seniors downstairs, while reading glasses and large print menus were available. This thoughtful hospitality would make seniors feel at home and appreciated, while younger clients would probably enjoy the view from the upstairs windows.
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Collins Barracks in Dublin, otherwise titled the Decorative Arts and History Museum. There are large lifts to every floor and accessible restrooms, plus a café. There is a lot of space to move around everywhere and the barracks have been adapted to be very wheelchair friendly. At the back of the barracks across the car park is the home of Erskine Childer's ship Asgard, also accessible.
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One very nice place is Billy's Tea Shop in the village of Ballyhale. This is a co-operative venture started by the villagers and the local Council, to provide employment and a social centre. Up to then, the village had been losing all its retail outlets and pubs.
With locals in mind, the cottage venue was restored and made suitable for anyone needing an accessible venue. One morning a week is given over to seniors who can meet and chat. The prices are very reasonable as this is a not for profit venture. Baking is done on the spot and servings are hearty.
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The Donkey Sanctuary in County Cork. Ill-treated or neglected donkeys can find a safe home here, and pairs of donkeys are available for adoption to suitable homes. The Sanctuary also runs free courses in donkey care.
The carpark is marked out with spaces for disability parking. Around the centre is level or fitted with ramps and hand rails. Presently there is no café but there is a coffee machine and snacks. Plenty of benches are provided and some were dedicated by donkey lovers.
This is ideal for someone with a visual or hearing impairment.
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The Dunbrody, a recreated famine emigrant ship. She sits by the quays in New Ross, Co. Wexford. Dunbrody has a lift to make her accessible below decks. The staff are very helpful and are happy to put the lift to use. This is suitable for three or four people or one wheelchair and one or two people. On board, visitors can handle the parts of the ship and furnishings similar to those used by emigrants. Actors will tell their stories and explain the lives of people from various backgrounds. The sounds and scents of the times are provided and this is a really immersive experience.
Close to Dunbrody on the quays is a new Visitor Centre with a first floor café and restrooms. These are fully wheelchair accessible.
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