WHERE ELSE in the capital city can you be in the same room as objects such as Nelson’s Pillar, War of Independence Documents and a ‘I’ve Been To Switzer’s Santa’ badge? The Little Museum of Dublin, of course.
Just over a year old, this new museum – housed inside a beautiful Georgian building on St Stephens Green – brings the rare ‘aul times to life.
Spread over just two rooms, the Little Museum’s tall walls are packed floor to ceiling with artefacts telling stories of Dublin in the last century.
Displayed chronologically, the artefacts are an eclectic mix of specialist and general interest objects: from original documents, photos and publications to furniture, food stuff and quirky domestic items.
Some objects give you a glimpse of domestic Dublin – harking back to a time of Gold Flake cigarettes, elephant rides at Dublin Zoo and when Aerlingus offered a return “Rolls Royce powered” service across the pond for just £12.
While other memorabilia – recalling famous visitors to the capital, such as Pope John Paul II to John F Kennedy – appears alongside belongings of legandary Dubliner James Joyce and politician and former President Eamon De Valera.
There is also political artefacts – like Bertie Ahern’s first election poster, and a dated Green Party poster from the 80s which claims “Others promise the moon, we only guarantee the earth”.
The Little Museum of Dublin even has a couple of items from our not so distant past – a membership card from Renards Nightclub or a Ryanair ‘business class’ sticker will raise a few smirks.
Meanwhile, downstairs there is a rotating exhibition space – which currently houses an excellent display on the life of Dubliner Bram Stoker.
One gripe visitors may have when visiting the museum is there is scarce contextual information provided on the collection. Additionally, space constraints mean that some artefacts are placed very high up on the building’s tall walls, making them difficult to see up close without a ladder or a stiff neck.
Fortunately, tours are run regularly by the staff and are included in the admission price. Experiencing the museum through a tour is definitely preferable; as discovering the story behind the objects on display can really bring the collection to life.
Visiting this place won’t break the bank either – tickets are surprisingly affordable. On the door tickets are priced at €5, where concessions are available for students and senior citizens. Additionally, children under 10 and jobseekers can visit free.
As an added bonus – if you visit the museum on a Wednesday between 1pm and 6pm – admission to the museum is free to all, courtesy of Johnston Mooney and O’Brien.
At just two rooms – the Little Museum of Dublin certainly deserves its title, but regardless of its small size, this eccentric and unique mix of Irish memories is well worth a visit.
After all, great nostalgia comes in small doses.
All Pictures courtesy of the Little Museum of Dublin
15 St Stephen’s Green
Telephone +353 1 6611000
By Aidan Knowles & Lynne Swan