A new museum explores the funeral tradition of the Irish Wake A new museum explores the funeral tradition of the Irish Wake

Stories of Irish life and death

The oldest urban domestic building in Ireland now houses a museum which traces the customs, traditions and superstitions associated with death from the earliest times to the 20th Century.

The Irish Wake Museum is in a former alms house, founded in 1478 in Waterford. The occupants of the alms house 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 allows visitors to explore this part of Irish culture on a fully guided tour.

The Irish Wake is one of the best-known Irish funeral traditions. It involves watching over the recently deceased from the time of death to burial, telling stories of their life, praying and toasting the person with a drink or two.

Visitors to the museum arrive at the area once occupied by a shop, where an audio-visual explores how the Irish landscape was etched by death over six thousand years.

In the house, visitors pass through six rooms taking them through 500 years of Irish death rituals.

Visitors can then make their way to Mrs Poole’s Parlour in the nearby Reg Bar. With the stories of local people who lived exceptional lives adorning the walls, visitors have a flight of the award-winning Waterford Whisky’s Arcadian range, or alternatively a traditional pot of Irish Breakfast Tea.

The museum is the latest in the Waterford Treasures collective of museums at Waterford’s Viking Triangle.