Irish Wake Museum opens in Waterford

22 Jun 2023

The Irish Wake Museum was officially opened on Friday 16 June by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien.

The new museum is the latest in the Waterford Treasures collective of Museums at Waterford’s Viking Triangle; joining the Medieval Museum, The Bishop’s Palace, The Irish Museum of Time, Irish Silver Museum, King of the Vikings virtual reality experience and the EPIC guided walking tour of Waterford.

The Irish Wake Museum is located at the former Dean John Collyn’s Almshouse, founded in 1478 on All Souls Day, November 2nd , the Day of the Dead. The occupants of the former Alms Houses paid for their keep by praying three times a night for the souls of its patrons and the souls of the deceased citizens of Waterford.

The museum transports you back to the original ‘Almshouses’ in Cathedral Square of Waterford City and takes you through a guided tour of an Irish Wake. Visitors to the museum will experience storytelling through six rooms chronologically from the 15th to the 20th centuries, with different themes associated with death being explored.

Director of Waterford Treasures Eamonn McEneaney said: “The Irish Wake is one of the iconic parts of our national culture and visitors will get to experience a sense of this at The Irish Wake Museum as we trace the customs, traditions and superstitions associated with death from the earliest times to the 20th century."