Ulster Museum

Sea Around Us

This gallery uses models set in dioramas to illustrate the life in the sea around Ireland

Permanent display

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This gallery consists of a series of scenes taking the visitor on a journey into the sea around Ireland. The display uses models made by the model-maker, Sam Anderson, for the original gallery which opened in the 1980s.

At the entrance is a screen showing video shot around the Northern Ireland coast for a BBC programme, “Waterworld”. It includes underwater scenes from Rathlin Island and basking sharks from Donegal.

The first case represents a typical rocky shore, with limpets and sea anemones. The next scene takes the viewer beneath the waves with a case illustrating a rocky reef, based on St. John's Point in Donegal.

The fish in this exhibit include ballan wrasse grazing on the rocks and spur dogfish chasing a shoal of sand eels.

The third case covers the open sea, featuring a shoal of herring, a thresher shark and a leatherback turtle. The turtle model is based accurately on an animal which was accidentally caught by a fishing boat in Donegal.

The final case shows the deep sea and highlights a model of a giant squid. A video playing at the end of the gallery illustrates ‘black smokers’, volcanic vents on the mid-Atlantic ridge.

Exhibition information

This exhibition is on display in area 22 of the Nature Zone and is free to attend.