By Jenny McGovern & Caroline Ewins
2013 will be the year of The Gathering Ireland. Hundreds of thousands of people with Irish heritage are expected to descend on the Emerald Isle for this year long event celebrating Irish Culture, Heritage and Craic. There is no doubt that businesses in Ireland will soon begin to pump up their Irish-ness in order to capitilise on the influx of tourists.
TheCity.ie decided to visit one such place that is already primed for the tourist market.
Nestled on the corner of Jervis Street by the tracks of the Luas Red Line is Ireland’s Official Leprechaun Museum. As you step into the veranda and onto the synthetic grass you are invited to leave the human world behind and enter into a land of myth and legend….the land of Leprechaun.
Be warned do not enter this museum with the notion that Leprechauns, Fairies and Giants do not exist…for you shall be reprimanded. Once inside you are greeted by various pictures and illustrations of the Leprechaun. A tour guide will then give you a brief history of the legends of Ireland, before whisking you through the secret door to the magical tunnel which will in turn transport you to a different world.
The magical tunnel by way of clever trickery appears to make the tourist shrink in size, thereby enhancing the museum experience. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to walk underneath the Giant’s Causeway or sneak inside a Fairy Fort then wonder no more. On this tour you will be taken through twelve chapters of Irish Mythology each with their own story to tell.
In essence the museum sounds like a wonderful place, a haven from the bustling world of Dublin city. The tales are interesting and educational and have the potential to be entertaining. Yet there are a couple of things that soured this reviewer’s experience. Perhaps it was the fact that it was the last tour of the day but this reviewer found the tour guide to be un-enthused – recounting tales in a monotone manner.
The Giant’s Room should be the highlight of the tour. The guide invited us all to linger and take photographs on the oversized novelty furniture; alas many members of the tour group appeared frustrated as they were unable to climb said furniture without some difficulty, and unless you are an experienced photographer the dim lighting hampers any attempts to take a decent photograph.
The idea of a National Leprechaun Museum is simple yet ingenious. It is a gem for tourists a veritable treasure trove for the operators and looks likely to benefit greatly from the upcoming Gathering 2013.
opening times and ticket prices available from www.leprechaunmuseum.ie
Photographs: Jenny McGovern