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Museum Life: Yes- A Leprechaun Museum!

March 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of my Irish heritage I bring you one of the newest museums on the planet…. The National Leprechaun Museum which opened in Dublin last week.

Irish furniture maker Tom O’Rahilly founded the museum to capitalize on what has become a national symbol, albeit a negative one from the perspective of many Irish, and to explore the origins of the tales of those little people dressed in green. He shelled out millions from his own pot of gold to do so.

Becoming the size of the wee ones

According to reports visitors will enter a passage that “shrinks” them to leprechaun size. I’m having flashbacks of Disneyland when I thought riding in a little car that made me the size of cells to learn about science was the coolest thing in my 7-year-old world.

In addition, the Museum  uses 3-D illusions to recreate neolithic sites such as Newgrange and of course has its own Rainbow Room. The newsletter sign up form says it will keep you apprised of he latest leprechaun sightings. 

Whether part of ongoing folk tales, poems by Yeats, or dancing on television selling magically delicious cereal, the leprechaun is forever associated with Ireland. Some continue to fight against  such cultural stereotypes. While this may or may not fit the definition of a museum by professional standards, I applaud the attempt to use humor and education to look the image in the face rather than deny it. Given my own professional history, I also seen nothing wrong in finding new ways to engage tourists. When people take on their own history from all perspectives and invite others into the dialog, the layers of interpretation are enriched.

Now go have a green beer….

Find Out More!

The National Leprechaun Museum website http://www.leprechaunmuseum.ie/

Tom O’Rahilly’s design company Rua http://www.rua.ie/

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