Current & Upcoming Exhibitions

To the Moon

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon, the National Print Museum is delighted to announce the opening of “To the Moon”.

The exhibition, curated by Dr Ciaran Swan, explores Ireland’s response to the man landing of the moon through print. Given the historical significance of the events of July 20th, 1969, a range of coverage was evident across the island. The front pages of national and regional newspapers, as well as the RTE Guide, give a flavour of the response.

The exhibition opened on 21 March. Admission is free of charge.

Print sponsor, McGowans

A Letterpress Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Moon Landing

The National Print Museum is delighted to announce an exhibition of work by Year 2 BA [Hons] Illustration students of the National College of Art and Design.

The students worked with illustration Programme Leader Brendon Deacy and Jamie Murphy at Distillers Press to explore the fiftieth anniversary of man landing on the moon through the medium of letterpress. The students created a limited-editioned folio of prints on the theme of ‘the moon’. From Syrian scrolls written in the Second Century AD through to poetry composed by contemporaries, ‘the moon’ has been an inspiration throughout cultural history. The students are responding to selected prose with a dynamic ‘interplay’ of typography and illustration.

The exhibition opened on 21 March. Admission is free of charge.

Print sponsor, McGowans

Design supporter, Language

Print, Protest, and The Polls: The Irish women’s suffrage campaign and the power of print media, 1908 – 1918

This exhibition commemorates the centenary of the first female vote in Ireland through exploration of the use of print media by the Irish suffragists, and their opponents, in their methods of promotion and protest. The exhibition aims to shine a light on a neglected period in Irish women’s history, while simultaneously exploring the powerful relationship between the contemporary political protest and the developing print media. Exhibition content includes print ephemera, photographs, and newspaper publications which illustrate the influence and effect of protest through print in a period of early media. It demonstrates the role which the process of print played in the Irish fight for women’s rights to vote, and will feature print ephemera which has never before been exhibited publicly. The exhibition iscurated by Donna Gilligan, a material culture historian who specialises in the research of the objects and images of the Irish suffrage campaign.

The exhibition is supported by Dublin City Council, Spera Brand Management, Smurfit Kappa Ireland, European Year of Cultural Heritage, Vermillion, Colorman and the National Library of Ireland.

A full education programme will accompany the exhibition throughout the summer.

17 May – 30 September 2018

Exhubition now extended until mid-November!

Admission free of charge

Protest through Print: Women’s Suffrage and Print Media Centenary Seminar

Friday 14 September, 9.30 – 16.00 

In the centenary year of women’s suffrage, the National Print Museum is delighted to host a day-long seminar exploring the use of print media by Irish suffragists and their opponents in their methods of promotion and protest.

A number of expert speakers will discuss the suffrage campaign’s strategic use of print media such as newspapers and cartoons, the events of the 1918 general election, and the ways in which print was used as a mass media for the development of the movement.

This event is being organised in conjunction with the Museum’s current exhibition Print, Protest and The Polls.  Admission is free, but booking is required to secure a place. Click here to register for this event via Eventbrite.

Seminar Speakers and Schedule

09.30am – 10.00am Registration
10.00am – 10.15am Welcome & opening remarks, Senator Ivana Bacik
10.15am – 11.15am
Dr Mary McAuliffe Irish working class women, activism and the vote in 1918
James Curry The Irish Citizen cartoons of Ernest Kavanagh, ‘gentle pacifist, shot in the streets’

11.15am – 11.45am Tea & Coffee Break
11.45am – 12.45pm Dr William Murphy ‘Throwing metaphorical spanners into official machinery’: the suffragist boycott of the census of Ireland, 1911.
Donna Gilligan ‘Shrieking Harridans’, Clucking Chickens, and Respectable Ladies: Views of women’s suffrage in Irish picture postcards
12.45pm – 1.45pm Lunch Break
1.45pm – 2.45pm
Dr Margaret Ward “Not all your palaver will make me continue” – glimpses behind the scenes of the Irish Citizen
Karen Fitzgerald A Suffragette in the Family: Laura Geraldine Lennox
2.45pm – 3.30pm Group Discussion & Final Questions
3.30pm – 3.45pm Closing comments

The Museum is offering a discount for all seminar delegates on the Response Project and Replica Series prints, which were created in connection with the Print, Protest and The Polls exhibition. Details of how to avail of this discount offer will be made available once you book a place on the Seminar.

The Seminar is kindly supported by the European Year of Cultural Heritage – Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2018.

Replica Series

Together with the National Library of Ireland, the National Print Museum has reproduce and important suffrage poster.

The poster hails from the NLI’s collection and was printed letterpress on the Museum’s Vandercook press by graphic artist Mary Plunkett.

The commemorative replica is made up of a limited edition of 500 posters that are available in store and online from 16 May at €25 each.

The project is being run in connection with the upcoming exhibition “Print, Protest and The Polls: The Irish women’s suffrage campaign and the power of print media”. The original poster is on loan to the Museum throughout the exhibition period 17 May to 30 September.

The paper is sponsored by Antalis and the plate by Flexographic Plate Plan.

Response Project

The National Print Museum is delighted to announce a project with three leading figures in letterpress in Ireland.

Dave Darcy of One Strong Arm, Mary Plunkett of The Belgrave Private Press, and Jamie Murphy of The Salvage Press were invited to individually respond to the upcoming exhibition theme exploring its contemporary relevance.

Each artist has created their own letterpress print that is on display during the exhibition “Print, Protest and The Polls: The Irish women’s suffrage campaign and the power of print media”. The prints are on sale in store and online. Each print is of a limited edition of just 100 – commemorating 100 years of women’s right to vote and cost €100 each or a special price of €280 for the set.

For more information on the print projects go to the Museum Shop.

The Wild Apple Press

Letterpress work by Jim Wilder

The Wild Apple Press is an American private press, printing mostly stories and imprints about Ireland and by Irish writers. The Press grew out the ‘book arts’ program at the University of Alabama in the mid-1970s, initially printing broadsides and ephemera. All type is handset and printed letterpress by Irish-American printer Jim Wilder in his print shop in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Works from the Press have been included in collections at: Royal Irish Academy Library; National Library of Ireland; Russell Library, Maynooth University; Early Printed Books, Trinity College Dublin; Burns Library, Boston College; Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University; Catholic University of America; and Special Collections, University of Delaware.

Exhibition runs from 19 October until 26 November 2017.

Admission free of charge.

Green Sleeves: The Irish printed Record Cover

Green Sleeves, The Irish Printed Record Cover 1955-2017

This exhibition examines the Irish-printed album cover. Included album covers were all designed and printed in Ireland. The work was completed for Irish groups, who worked at home or abroad, as well as albums from abroad referencing Ireland or Irishness. The collection dates from the late 1950s to the present day, and covers a wide range of musical and non-musical genres. Arising from the increase in popularity of the vinyl record, the Irish print industry saw an increase in companies solely devoted to album covers in the 1960s. This business flourished for two decades before declining along with the vinyl record in the 1980s. Yet even with the decline in production and sales, the vinyl record and the album cover have both persisted, and have seen a revival of late. Despite selling in much smaller numbers than its heyday, the format has proven remarkably resilient and album covers continue to be designed in Ireland.

The album cover developed first as a means of protecting and promoting the various record formats, whether 7 inch single, EP or LP record. As the nature of albums changed so too did the album covers. For example, the compilation album, an album of songs not intended to be a single work, arrived in the 1950s. The concept album, a collection of albums expressing a theme or idea, appeared afterwards in the late 1960s. Records inside album covers were usually held within sleeves – originally these were generic paper or plastic covers used to avoid scratches. By the 1970s however they evolved to specially designed printed sleeves, which would contain additional information and song lyrics. Each iteration brought with it different requirements as well as cover sizes. As time progressed the demands of musicians and record labels saw considerable experimentation in the form of the cover itself. For example, gatefold was employed – an oversized cover folded to the record’s standard size, along with other innovations. This gave more area to experiment with artwork and text. The cover became a piece of art and design in its own right.

By the 1960s there were over 150 printers in Dublin alone, supported by a workforce of thousands. Apart from these, a smaller number of companies were involved in printing record sleeves, both of Irish and international musicians. Most of these companies were based in Dublin or on the Irish eastern seaboard. The market for record sleeves started to grow. The packaging company Dakota Ltd. purchased the smaller Earlsfort Press in the 1960s to concentrate mainly on producing record sleeves for the Irish music industry. The 1980s however brought about change. In the printing industry, multinational computing corporations based in Ireland contracted local companies to produce their computer manuals. So great was the demand that large parts of the printing industry were occupied with the supply of manuals. This lead to a reduced capacity in Ireland for record sleeves printing, at a time when the record format itself was under threat from another direction. By the mid 1980s sales of tape cassettes rivaled those of vinyl records. Then a newer format, the CD (compact disc), arrived towards the end of the 1980s, marking another shift. The demand for vinyl records and album covers declined swiftly. Since then almost all album covers for Irish groups have been printed outside of Ireland.

Green Sleeves is curated by Dr Ciarán Swan and Niall McCormack.

The exhibition runs from 5 May until 1 October 2017. Exhibition extended until 7 October!

Admission is free of charge.

Exhibition sponsored by MCD Productions.

Green Sleeves Symposium

Together with Typography Ireland, the National Print Museum is delighted to announce a one-day symposium on design for music in Ireland. The symposium takes place on Friday, May 5 at the Geological Society of Ireland lecture hall in Beggars Bush Barracks, just beside the National Print Museum.
The event will feature designers and academics speaking about a wide variety of topics relating to design for music, from techno-house Letraset to Irish language letterpress lyrics via Daniel O’Donnell, Gael Linn, punk and much more.
Speakers include: Dr Ciaran Swan and Niall McCormack (curators of the Green Sleeves exhibition), Steve Averill, Conor Clarke, David Donohue, Stan Erraught, Robin Fuller, Rosanne Lancaster, Peter Maybury, Dr Dermot McGuinne and David Rooney.
The symposium is free, but places are limited. To secure a place, simply sign up at

Curator’s Tours of Green Sleeves

Green Sleeves Curator’s, Dr Ciaran Swan and Niall McCormack, will give Curator’s Tours of the exhibition on the following dates:

  • Saturday 13 May, 14.30  
  • Saturday 27 May, 14.30
  • Saturday 10 June, 14.30
  • Saturday 24 June, 14.30
  • One final date to follow in September!

Admission is free, however booking is essential, as places are limited.

Contact to reserve a place on one of the above tour dates.

The Typographic Dante

Barrie Tullett, University of Lincoln

The Divine Comedy is a poem by Dante Alighieri. Written between 1308 and 1320, it describes Dante’s journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, and, at a deeper level, represents the souls journey towards God. The Typographic Dante is a series of typographic illustrations created as a response to this unfolding narrative. Each Canto being illustrated typographically, and each book of the Divine Comedy having a different typographic style.

This is an on-going project by Barrie Tullett, Programme Leader for Graphic Design at the University of Lincoln, that will eventually illustrate each of the 100 Cantos of Dante’s Divine Comedy using a different ‘obsolete’ technology.The 34 Cantos of The Inferno are realised using the wood and metal type of letterpress printing, the 33 Cantos of Purgatory are created on the typewriter, and the 33 Cantos of Paradise will be visualised with Letraset.

The seed of the project was planted many years ago, but it did not begin to come together as a coherent body of work until Tullett’s final year as a Visual Communication student at the Chelsea School of Art. Ever since, he has returned to the project whenever he have had the time, and has slowly added to the illustrations. This is the first time that all the completed images will be exhibited as a single body of work.

The exhibition runs from 10 February until 2 April 2017.

Admission is free of charge.

2017 Exhibition Programme

The 2017 Exhibition Programme will be announced at the end of January 2017!

Seditious Types, Legacy of the Printers of 1916

The National Print Museum opens an exhibition seeking to engage the public in an understanding of the Rising from a fresh perspective. The exhibition explores the role of printers active in 1916 and the central role of printed media in shaping the image and meaning of the Rising.

The growth of the print industry in Ireland from the 17th century onwards was linked to political and administrative change. Print forms spanned all social spheres including academic works, luxury accessories and administrative stationary. In 1916, printers transformed the words of artists, activities, politicians and industrialists into works of permanent ink which survive today. In 1916, the printed word was the dominant means of communication. Print had a prolific presence, with broadsheets, newspapers, posters, fliers, handbills and postcards evident on every street corner. Print forms were divided into stationary, advertisements, popular media newspapers, journals, books and academic publications. The press industry was thriving in Dublin, meeting the demands of the growing middle and upper classes. The majority of printed content included advertising of social events and key political issues such as the recruitment drive for the first World War, the domestic issue of Home Rule and socialist post 1913 Lockout activists such as the Suffragette movement. Against this backdrop the print industry was producing large amounts of material for nationalist and unionist organizations. The ever growing militaristic tone of these organizations is evident in the text, illustration and branding of the surviving print. Newspapers and journals played a key role in the distribution of political feeling in 1916. From the outbreak of the first World War, the Dublin Castle administration closely monitored all printed works and employed the Defence of the Realm Act to suppress any which were seen to incite sedition or discontent within the lawful authority.

Politics and the print industry had a complex relationship in 1916 Ireland. As a commercial sector the print industry produced vast amounts of stationary and advertising for the main political parties and the British administration. This often resulted in material from varying political points of view being produced in the same printing shops. However, a number of print shops were associated with the Gaelic League and the nationalist literary movement. This group of printers actively published works which would not have been printed by the mainstream printers of the time, including works by Yeats, Synge and O’Casey. In recognition of the power of print to inform and win public opinion, a nationalist print counter-culture existed in the form of journals, pamphlets and books. This ‘mosquito press’ circulated mainly in Dublin among radical political activists. In the case of the more seditious groups and individuals, small printing presses were often established in secret locations. By 1916 many of the key political activists were printers, compositors and editors.

Exhibition dates: May – September 2016 [Extended until 28 October 2016]
Admission: Free of charge.
Sponsorship: The exhibition has been supported by Ireland 2016 and the Irish design and print industry: Catalysto, Colorman, Trimfold, Walsh Colour Print, Spectrum, Vermillion, Impress Printing Works, DLRS Group, Gill, Waterman’s, The Irish Times, and Kenny’s Bookshop and Art Gallery.

Visit online exhibition 

Graphic Explorations in Print

32 years of student work from Distillers Press, NCAD

Distillers Press, previously known as the graphic print workshop, had its origin at the National College of Art and Design’s original location on Kildare Street. In the 1980s when the Department of Visual Communication moved to the college’s new location on Thomas Street, the facility was expanded by the then Head of Department, Bill Bolger. Seán Sills was appointed custodian of the Press in 1983.

The Press now has a number of operational letterpress proofing presses and a large collection of metal and wooden type approximately 280 cases of metal type and 110 cases of wooden type in a wide variety of fonts.

It is used by students on a daily basis for creative projects and also as a teaching tool to introduce the fundamentals of typography. Ireland’s first practice-based Masters in the visual arts was undertaken at the Press in 1986; samples of this work can be viewed in the exhibition.

The Press is unique in being the only operational letterpress print facility used on a daily basis in third level design education in Ireland. Over the years Distillers Press has collaborated with some of Ireland’s greatest artists, writers and poets including the late Nobel Laurette Seamus Heaney.

The facility began to be known as the Distillers Press in the late 1990s due to the college campus location in the old Power’s Whiskey Distillery, where whiskey was manufactured for nearly 200 years. In 2005, Distillers Press relocated to the School of Design and reverted back to a purely letterpress facility due to the resurgence of the interest in letterpress printing and the advancements in digital printing.

Distillers Press collaborated with the National Gallery of Ireland on its first contemporary exhibition of Print Art into Art, and the Chester Beatty Library for their exhibition The Holy Show. Work from the Press is collected by private collectors and national institutions such as the Rare Books Section of Trinity College Library, National Library of Ireland and the National Visual Arts Library, as well as many overseas libraries and universities in the UK, USA and Australia.

Graphic Explorations is a showcase of work produced by graphic design students at Distillers Press from 1983 until present day. Curated by Seán Sills, custodian of the Press during that period, the exhibition encompasses posters, books and a collection of ephemera. The National Print Museum has had strong links with Distillers Press over many years, working on collaborative projects and is delighted to host this exhibition. Graphic Explorations has been made possible with the generous support of Irish Design 2015.

Exhibition runs from 10 December 2015 until end of February 2016.

Free admission.

See the What’s on page for further programming details.

A World to Win, Posters of Protest and Revolution

To celebrate the year of design, Irish Design 2015 and the National Print Museum host the Irish debut of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London touring exhibition, A World to Win, Posters of Protest and Revolution.  

A World to Win is an exhibition of posters of protest and revolution exploring a century of posters agitating for political change. From the “Votes of Women” campaigns of the early twentieth century to the recent occupy movements, political activists around the world have used posters to mobilise, educate and organise. The exhibition will comprise of approximately seventy posters drawn from the V&A collection and will feature a diverse array of artists, graphic designers and print collectives. The exhibition is curated by Catherine Flood, V&A Prints Curator.

A World to Win is sponsored by ID2015; Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; Dublin City Council; and Aviva Stadium Community Fund.

Exhibition organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

17 September – 8 November 2015

Free admission

See the What’s on page for further programming details.



Modern Wife, Modern Life


Modern Wife, Modern Life is an exhibition exploring the ‘ideal wife’ turned ‘modern wife’ in 1960s Ireland as seen through the pages of women’s magazines. Curated by Ciara Meehan of University of Hertfordshire., the National Print Museum is delighted to host this exhibition during July and August 2015.

Manuals on how to be a good wife had been widely available in Ireland at the start of the twentieth century, but with the emergence of new technologies, the advice extended to newly married women and housewives began to change in the 1960s. The concept of being an ‘ideal wife’ became closely bound up with being a ‘modern wife’. This is best identified in the pages of women’s magazines, which came to replace the traditional manual as a source for guidance. The message, driven by the advertisers, was clear: a ‘good wife’ was not just beautifully presented, but also used all the latest ‘modern’ devices. Her home – especially the kitchen – was an extension of her appearance and reputation. ‘Modern life’ and ‘modern wife’ became blended into the one ideal. The exhibition covers several themes: the growth of women’s magazines; advice for newly-married wives; beauty and presentation; the Housewife of the Year competition; new technologies and the home; women behind the wheel; and wives outside the home. In addition to the magazines, a series of domestic objects — many of which are loan from the Irish public — will also be on display.Admission free of charge.

Further information follow the exhibition blog and Twitter account @ModWifeExhibit #modwife

Exhibition continues until 30 August.

Free Admission.

Exhibition Events

Join us for a tour of Modern Wife, Modern Life led by the exhibition’s curator, Dr Ciara Meehan – find out upcoming dates for these tours in the What’s On? section.

Together with Press Cafe, we will be running an afternoon of 1960s-inspired cakes and reminiscence at 16.00 on Thursday 6 August. Details to follow shortly.

Exquisite Editions

An International Exhibition of Finely Printed Books

For the first time in Ireland, this exhibition brings together 25 outstanding books from the world’s leading contemporary fine press printers. All the books are letterpress printed in limited editions and many have been illustrated through a variety of means including wood engraving, woodcut, linoleum and other fine art processes. Exhibiting alongside the work of several Irish presses will be books from the UK, USA, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands. The exhibition has been curated by Jamie Murphy of The Salvage Press. This one is for the bibliophiles…

4 March – 18 April 2015

Free Admission

Image of ‘At Sixes and Sevens’ by Stoney Road Press, Ireland