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.
Full ticket prices and directions are on their website –
Adults = 12 euro
Children 3-11 = 8 euro
Family (2A + 2C) = 34 euro
In the enchanted forest for story telling
A pot of gold – obviously essential for a leprechaun museum!