The Irish were creating splendid art as far back as the Bronze Age and you can see the intricate works at the National Museum in Dublin. Don't miss the Tara Brooch from 700 AD, which is resplendent in gold. Elsewhere, Ireland is dotted with engaging museums. The Irish Agricultural Museum near Wexford documents the horrific potato famine of the 1800s, which caused entire villages to be abandoned due to death and emigration to America. Village life itself—from the hardship to rare moments of frolic—is detailed at County Mayo's National Museum of Country Life. You can visit the country cottage of Patrick Pearse, a hero of the fight for independence from the British, in an achingly beautiful part of the Connemara Peninsula.