In Search Of Leprechauns

A day trip to Dublin with a dose of sightseeing later in the day, we decided to spend the morning in search of leprechauns at the National Leprechaun Museum. Leprechauns fascinate me – Irish people have been telling stories about them for a thousand years so when I read about this place, dedicated to the wee green men of Irish mythology, it sounded like a fun and different way to spend the morning. All that plus it was right in the heart of Dublin, easy to find and a good place to expose Son to this Irish cultural icon.

07.10.14 - Leprechaun Museum

We bought tickets at the entrance and having just missed a tour waited fifteen minutes for the next one. The building was not quite what I expected – more office than leprechaun hide out – but anyway… Everyone goes through the museum with a guide – our group was the three of us plus three others. They call it a “light-hearted journey through the myths of the Emerald Isle.” We started in a room with stacks of leprechaun related stuff with a few minutes to look around before our jovial guide arrived. Blessed with the gift of the gab, he was lively and chatted to each of us before launching into the tour. They had quite a few interesting things to see plus we were told about the Walt Disney movie – Darby O’Gill And The Little People (I’d never heard of it much less seen it) featuring our leprechaun friends. Apparently this movie transformed the original Irish leprechaun in his brown suit and red shirt into the green clad chap we instantly think of today.

A walk through a tunnel where we were supposed to “grow” bigger was, I thought, just a bit lame. The wooden replica of the Giants Causeway though just about peaked on the lame scale.

07.10.01 - Leprechaun Museum

07.10.02 - Leprechaun Museum

We entered a room full of giant sized furniture – chairs, a table and some cupboards, supposed to make you feel as if you’d shrunk. It was actually a bit of fun clambering onto the chairs – graceful was not a word to describe my endeavours – but we did have quite a laugh. Son enjoyed this most of all. Seated on those huge chairs, we listened as the guide told another leprechaun tale.

07.10.05 - Leprechaun Museum

07.10.06 - Leprechaun Museum

07.10.07 - Leprechaun Museum

After that we passed through a series of dark corridors into other rooms and listened to more stories and myths. Lacking in atmosphere of any description this section of the tour was a bit disappointing. We sat around a crock of gold, walked through the poorest excuse for a rainbow I have ever seen and ended up in a room with a fake well where the guide broke into song in Gaelic. He sang wonderfully but somehow it all felt just a teeny bit uncomfortable.

07.10.10 - Leprechaun Museum

Emerging into a courtyard we were encouraged to take pictures next to some wooden boards with leprechauns painted on them and finally ushered into a gift shop.

Apparently the Irish Times has referred to this place as the “Louvre of Leprechauns.” Not really our lasting impression, our guide was excellent and very engaging – he told us some great tales and kept our attention however, apart from the room with the giant furniture, everything else was a big letdown. No ambiance or atmosphere at all, I left feeling we should have spent the money on an Irish mythology book. There was scope here to have a lot of fun, somehow it all just fell sadly short.

39 thoughts on “In Search Of Leprechauns

  1. As an Irish person, I have always been skeptical of this place. It just always appeared to me as one of those tourist rip of places. I thought I might be wrong when I first started reading your post, but by the end, I was 100% sure I would never go there. I hope you enjoyed some aspects of it nonetheless and I look forward to some more Irish posts.

    • We went with an open mind, expecting something touristy and a bit of fun for our son before an afternoon of sightseeing. It wasn’t the worst place ever and we didn’t hate it – the guide was great, I felt a bit sorry for him really – but apart from his personality and the giant furniture it was a bit disappointing! Not sorry we went there though – it was an experience!!

  2. It would have been nice to really dig into the mythology–I always love the old stories. But, I have to admit, the big tables and chairs are kind of cool. I’d love to pull up to that and have an oversized tea party (it would be very Mad-Hatter!).

  3. Joy, you have so many wonderful adventures, it’s sort of inevitable that you hit a dud once in a while. It’s always disappointing though when it happens, and since the only alternative would be not to go new places – well, that’s not even really an alternative, is it? As usual, I enjoyed reading your post.

    • That’s so true – every experience counts I think, this one by no means ranked as the worst ever and now with the benefit of hindsight I am even starting to look back at it a little more fondly!!

  4. My kids would have loved the giant furniture too. It seems there’s no good way to translate the magic of the old myths into something we can examine… I guess that’s what makes them so special. Coincidentally, we just watched Darby O’Gill! I found it in a clearance bin right before St. Patrick’s Day… It’s certainly “vintage” but my little ones liked it. Mr.Martini and I were entertained by the very young Sean Connery. So funny! Hope you have a great weekend!

    • Wow fancy you just watched that movie!! I keep meaning to look it out and haven’t quite got round to it yet – you’ve inspired me. We’ll definitely have to find it!! Hope your weekend is a good one too!

  5. The giant furniture looks pretty cool but otherwise good to know that it may not be the place to spend the day if you only rarely have a day in Dublin! A bit disappointing, the idea sounds quite promising.

    • I thought that too – loved the idea but the reality didn’t quite match up. Dublin has so many great things to see and do – skip this place and do something else would be my advice.

  6. Joy, it looked like it was going to be a winner when I saw the photos. Sorry that you were disappointed, that’s never a fun way to spend the day. Some times these “museums” need to realize they’re not doing anyone a service by ruining their country’s charm and folklore. Good that you shared this so hopefully others won’t waste their money…

    • It wasn’t completely terrible Kirsten – that room with the furniture was fun for sure, but like you say, I definitely think if you are visiting Dublin there are so many other more interesting and different things to do and see.

  7. Sorry you experienced a let down. We’ve had a few of those in our time too. I guess we just chalk it up yo experience and often those defeating experiences become great anecdotes. I have seen the Darby O’Gill movie. It’s not good, as I recollect. I think it’s only remembered now for having Sean Connery in it.

    • Definitely Laura, this is one of those notch it up to experience things! I’d never even heard of the movie before, my mother seemed to vaguely recall something about it but maybe not one to watch then!!

  8. It certainly doesn’t sound like the louvre of leprechauns hahahah. Oh my! I love Darby o’gill and the little people! I have Irish ancestors and have always felt drawn to all things Irish. (Except Guinness haha).

  9. Sorry it was a bit of a let-down Joy. Nothing like the Irish to tell a good story though and am sure there are plenty about the leprechauns! I’ve never been to Ireland before ( or Northern Ireland either) something we want to put right one day! Dublin in general sounds to be worth visiting though! Have a lovely rest of the weekend and hope you’re enjoying some sun! 😃

    • Oh you must go to Ireland sometime Rosemary, I’m biased but it is wonderful!! We’ve arrived in Zaragoza with lovely sunshine and the most incredible Easter week parades all over the city – so different and quite a spectacle!!

      • Yes I’ll definitely have to go to Ireland at some point Joy it’s on the list! Zaragoza sounds wonderful especially as you’re there at the time of the Easter parades that must be some spectacle. Have a wonderful time! 😃

  10. It’s funny that someone with an Irish background, living in the UK has never heard of the “Darby OGill” movie. I grew up in the States and I’ve seen it several times (Disney childhood + my mom is a HUGE Sean Connery fan). Thanks for not sugar-coating your opinion! If I ever make it to Dublin, I won’t waste my time and money:)

    • My parents both knew the film and also couldn’t believe neither my sister nor I knew it so I blame them for the cultural oversight!! Don’t look for leprechauns here there is so much more to see in Dublin!!

    • My efforts to climb onto that furniture was a lot of fun and laughs for my son and husband!! Definitely not for sharing on this blog!! We did enjoy our afternoon here, it is just a bit expensive for what you get but that furniture is great.

  11. The big chair looks fun, but like your honesty around the rest of the experience. Seems like they could definitely have made more out of it as the mythology around these little, green men sound interesting:)

  12. The Leprechaun Museum.. I have heard and read awful things about this place. Every few months or so I look it up on Tripadvisor just to have a laugh at the reviews. Some are hilarious, others concerning. Here’s my favourite “It’s just a yard full of gravel with two blocks of wood where someone has painted some leprechauns on and you can stick your head though! My back yard at home is in better nick and I’ve not done any gardening for 4 years!”. Looking at your other post it looks like you had a good time in Dublin though, and that’s all that matters 🙂

    • That review made me chuckle – it is definitely like that!! We didn’t hate the museum – just disappointing but another experience which is really all that matters. We loved Dublin though – like you say that was the main thing!!

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