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The National Museum of Ireland is Ireland's leading museum institution, with a strong emphasis on national and some international archaeology, Irish history, Irish art, culture, and natural history. It has three branches in Dublin and one in County Mayo.
The National Museum of Ireland descends from the amalgamation of parts of the collections of a number of Dublin cultural institutions from the 18th and 19th centuries, including the Royal Dublin Society and the Royal Irish Academy . The earliest parts of the collections are largely geological and mineralogical specimens, which the RDS collected as a means to improve the knowledge and use of such resources in Ireland. The establishment of the museum collections is generally deemed to have been with the purchase of the collection of Nathaniel Gottfried Leske in 1792.
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