TripAdvisor’s top Dublin museums might include Guinness, whiskey, and Kilmainham Gaol, but no writer or lover of good stories should visit the city without a stop at the National Leprechaun Museum.
Ireland’s storytelling tradition goes back to the dawn of Irish history, and the National Leprechaun Museum is a tribute to the nation’s wild oral history and folklore.
I first visited the museum last year, and they’ve recently moved down the road to a new site at 2/3 Mary’s Abbey in Dublin 7. It’s fair to say that the new place is still a bit of a work in progress — the sets are still charming as you journey through Irish history to a world of imagination, but the old venue was even better. The great thing is that it doesn’t matter, because the gift of this museum is that you always seem to get something new.
All tell, no show!
That’s because the exhibits at the National Leprechaun Museum aren’t old books or costumes, they’re the tales told live by the resident storytellers who host each tour. The guides tailor every visit to the ages and understanding of the group, so adult groups always enjoy a bit more spice and sly Irish wit!
Paudie — who’s also a host of the museum’s award-winning Talking Stories podcast — furnished us with stories that included a silver ladle lodged where the sun doesn’t shine and the misfortunes of a randy Irish king who took a shine to the queen of the leprechauns.
Best of all, no-one dresses a green costume and shouts fiddle-de-dee while pretending to a pint-sized alcoholic. This is Irish folklore without the Disney twee, full of wiley wee people, remarkable warriors and deadly faeries.
I can’t wait to get back to The Pale and enjoy one of the adults-only DarkLand nights on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays.
I was a little bit starstruck to recognise Paudie’s voice when he opened the tour. The guides are always happy to chat and their advice on my first visit led me to piles of research for my current WIP.
As Paudie loves to say: “You are most assuredly welcome!”