Monthly Archives: October 2013

The National Leprechaun Museum – Dublin

Image

Obviously the first thing you do before visiting a city with kids is to google “things to do with kids in…”. That is exactly what I did and was duly informed by the results that the National Leprechaun Museum was a great thing to do with kids in Dublin.

So I was somewhat surprised on arrival to the museum with my three utterly soaked children in tow – it rains a lot in Dublin so when borrowing a pushchair make sure you borrow the rain cover for it too – to be greeted by a fellow, possibly half leprechaun, telling us that it was quite gruesome and scary and really an attraction for adults. He was very friendly, helpful and well meaning but this was not good news for us! Having bigged it up so much to the children we were not going to be able to get out of this easily and so we pressed ahead, though not quite on our own time frame.

You have to go around on a set tour. They start every 20 mins and last about 45 minutes. It was a strangely busy day we had picked and so we were informed we’d have to return in an hour for our tour… This gave us time to find a café, get some cake and wonder if we were making a massive parenting mistake attempting this “adult” museum with tired and wet children. Our nerves were exaggerated further as we discovered the quirky and brightly coloured café we had chosen, around the corner from the museum was subtly covered in soft porn. The back of my menu had a (rather lovely) picture of a naked man at a window and Orla’s menu had a naked lady with fine breasts staring at her – hmmm! The cake and coffee were good though and the colours were rejuvenating.

Anyway, the hour’s gap gave us a chance to nip into a shopping centre and buy Orla some new, dry, leggings and some snack to ply her with during the tour – worked a treat, parenting win!

So – tentatively we returned to the museum with significantly lower expectations and squeezed into the first room where the tour began. Well, the first thing that made this great was the fact that unlike the chap on the desk who was possibly half leprechaun, the young guy giving us the tour was most definitely of leprechaun decent! Full sized but nimble, sprightly, cheerful and fun he really knew his stuff and was engaging and interesting.

After the first room we are guided through a series of enchanting and interactive experiences, a tunnel that makes you a giant, then a giant’s house that make you feel as small as a leprechaun, a rainbow and an enchanted forest. Our semi-leprechaun guide delighted us with stories of fairies and giants and encouraged us to make wishes in the magic well.

Perhaps he was toning things down for a tour with lots of kids on it but I didn’t hear anything that our, fairly sheltered, children would have been scared by and they were so enthralled by the clever scenery and lighting effects that they were quiet enough for us all to listen to the stories. “Museum” is perhaps the misleading part of the whole thing, there are no stuffed leprechauns or tiny fairy costumes behind glass. In fact what you get is an interactive theatrical experience of Ireland’s mythology which appeals to adults and children alike. Moving through at a reasonable speed, the children don’t have a chance to get bored and the adults are able to listen and learn. There’s no trying to read interpretation boards whilst chasing little ones around display cabinets, you just watch, listen and absorb – definitely the way forward in my book!

So, if you’re in Dublin then give it ago and if you’ve got kids don’t be put off by the chap on the door – they’ll love it!

The museum is open everyday 10.00 – 18.30 and they often have special evening performances for adults.

Website: http://www.leprechaunmuseum.ie

Full ticket prices and directions are on their website –

Adults = 12 euro

Children 3-11 = 8 euro

Family (2A + 2C) = 34 euro

ImageBoys in the Giant’s House

ImageIn the enchanted forest for story telling

ImageA pot of gold – obviously essential for a leprechaun museum!

ImageThe wishing well

It’s not like a normal fridge. It just has champagne in it!

Image

My father phoned this morning to make arrangements for this weekend when we descend on his single man town house in the centre of Dublin with our three young children.

“Ok, so the next thing after you get off the bus is the fridge – It’s not like a normal fridge you see. It just has champagne in it!”

Luckily I know from having seen it before that it is capable of containing food and other, more appropriate beverages for small children – unlike the one pictured above, his house fridge is in fact a big American style thing – though admittedly I have never seen anything in it other than champagne.

“We’ll have to go to the supermarket to get things like… ‘food’… but you’ll have to come with me as I wouldn’t know what to get – you’ll know about cereal and stuff like that so I’ll wait for you to get here rather than get it wrong”.

If I’m honest, I’m beginning to feel a little bit anxious about this trip, perhaps booking a premier inn would have been safer – I’m sure some champagne will put my mind at rest though and soften the blow for dad when his various works of art get scribbled on, woollen carpet wee’d on, Farrow and Ball walls are painted with grubby hand prints and delicate crystal glasses smashed! Watch out Dad – the Dean’s are on their way!

The sound of silence

Image

Orla is noisy! To be honest, as a family we are all pretty loud but Orla is particularly into yelling and shouting at the moment. On a Wednesday she goes to a child minder so I can work more effectively (I do work Mondays and Tuesdays but I’m never quite sure how I have managed to get stuff done by the end of the day, it just sort of happens). I drop her off before dropping the kids to school.

On a Monday and Tuesday she shouts at me the whole way home from school because she wants to stay and play. I open the windows and turn the volume up on the stereo. This morning after I dropped the boys off the car was silent – I had never before fully appreciated that moment of clam and actual excitement about the day ahead knowing I could achieve so much without interruption. Then it dawned on me – From February 12th I shall not experience that sound of silence and anticipation of achievement for a whole year.

Making new friends

Image

An ambition for our travelling experience is to meet new people and make new friends all around the world. People from other places and generations, with different cultures and lifestyles to our own. People who have experienced different things to us and know about different stuff to us. Meeting new people and making new friends was one of our favourite things about having WWOOF volunteers on our farm and we are somewhat isolated from “new people” at the moment.

Yippee – our adventure will be starting early in this respect! We are heading to Dublin in half term to see my Father for a few days and to have a little “test run” of travelling with the kids, as lightly as possible in both mind and matter. It just so happens that one of my favourite family travel bloggers is over in the Emerald Isle at the moment and we will hopefully get the chance to meet up. Their kids are a similar age to ours and they have been travelling since May 2012, which puts them in the “mega” camp in my head. You can read about their epic adventures on their blog Travel with Bender.

I told the team about meeting new people who have been travelling for ages over tea last night and suggested we think about some questions to ask them about their experiences. They were as excited as me. Alfie thought of a question he would like to ask their children, “was it a little scary when they first set off on their travels?” I said I thought that was a great question! I’d like to ask the parents the same.