In all of Irish mythology and history, no other figure or story can hold a candle to the global prominence and recognizability of the Irish Leprechaun.
CREDIT: By YvonneM – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
This is what differentiates the National Leprechaun Museum from all the other museums that can be found in Ireland. With a focus on Irish mythology’s most prominent figure as well as a reverence for some of Irish folklore’s most forgotten and buried histories, the National Leprechaun Museum is a unique destination that should be on the bucket list of anyone with a genuine love for history.
To call this museum experiential would be an understatement. While the capabilities of tour guides in most other museums are a mixed bag, the National Leprechaun Museum makes it a point to hire experienced vocal storytellers – a key ingredient in the immersive nature of the displays. The museum’s caretakers understand that guiding people through history is equal parts teaching and entertaining, which is why their touring staff is often composed of teachers, actors, historians, or local folklore specialists, eager to share their knowledge of the Irish fey to regular museum-goers.
Last year, the museum outdid itself with its new immersive Samhain experience. In celebration of Halloween, the museum’s organizers took to Old Mary’s Abbey to tell the darkest and most buried tales in Irish folklore. Guided by ‘an ancient spirit,’ those who participated in the Samhain experience were immersed in a spooky world that no other museum can hope to venture deeply into.
This innovative take on modern Halloween is of course not surprising to those who are already familiar with the regular offerings of the National Leprechaun Museum. Every night, the museum transforms into the “Dark Lands,” an adults-only immersion into the dark world of the fey. With the museum’s immersive exhibits and displays providing the background, museum guides and actors act out some of the more adult-themed legends and stories from Irish lore.
Meanwhile, if you prefer the ‘regular,’ non-dark experience, it’s best to go in the mornings or afternoons. Among the most interesting regular features in the museum include over-sized furniture and optical illusions that pull museum-goers into the realm of the Leprechaun. While immersed in these space-bending illusions, audiences are treated to live vocal re-tellings of cautionary tales, little-known legends, and other deep dives into the folk stories of the Emerald Isle. Visitors will also be treated to a discussion of the history of the Leprechaun. From the first known recorded sighting of the creature back in the 8th century to Walt Disney’s Ireland visit which inspired the 1959 Disney movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People, no detail is spared by the museum’s knowledgeable tour guides. If you know the Leprechaun mostly as the Lucky Charms mascot, you definitely need to visit this one-of-a-kind Irish museum for a taste of their unique blend of entertainment and education.
In fact, the prevalence of Irish mythology and folklore in modern media underscores the importance of the Leprechaun Museum. Online, Cheeky Bingo’s Leprechaun-inspired games such as Rainbow Riches and Luck O’ The Jackpot are an indication of the mythic figure’s continuing relevance to the modern zeitgeist. Elsewhere in modern media, the Leprechaun continues to be a globally known mythic figure, and has even been depicted on TV in the series American Gods and several good and bad movies in the past like the Leprechaun franchise and Leprechaun Back 2 Tha Hood. And while these modern interpretations provide a glimpse into what’s at the end of the rainbow, a visit to the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin can give you so much more.