Popular culture depicts leprechauns as tiny tricksters that will do anything to protect their pots of gold. Although this isn't exactly untrue, Dublin's Leprechaun Museum shows there is far more to them than that.
What Is The Leprechaun Museum?
'The Louvre of leprechauns,' Dublin's Leprechaun Museum is the only museum in the world that's dedicated to Ireland's most famous mythological export. It is made up of several rooms themed around the legend of the leprechaun. These are only a backdrop however, the real star of the show is the stories.
Master storytellers deliver to guests oral tales with over 1,000 years of history. During the day, these stories offer a light and whimsical tour of Ireland's mythological Otherworld. At night however they take on a darker form.
Not all myths are for the faint-hearted.
A Brief History Of Leprechauns
Picture a leprechaun. What colour are its clothes? Green or red?
It might come as a surprise, but, like some kind of reverse santa, leprechauns were originally depicted wearing red. This was later changed to green, possibly due to Ireland's association with the colour.
Other facts about leprechauns are that they are male, 2-3 ft tall, live in caves and hollowed-out tree trunks, and each have a pot of gold.
Legend has it they are descendants of the Tuatha Dé, a race of Irish gods that live in Otherworld (a fantastical realm of gods and faeries). The first extant text that refers to leprechauns dates back to the 8th century.
They have, over the years, been depicted in many different ways, but one frequent feature is their profession. They tend to be cobblers, made rich by the Irish habit of grinding down shoes by dancing. The sound of a cobbler's hammer is thought to be a tell-tale sign that a leprechaun is nearby.
There are many legends that revolve around them being caught by humans and interrogated about the whereabouts of their gold. More often than not the leprechauns get the better of their captors by using their greed to distract them and then vanishing.
In some tales however the leprechauns don't stop there. They can be vengeful creatures. Beds full of mushrooms and broken legs are just a couple of the ways that leprechauns have gotten back at these would-be thieves. Such tales can be heard told with graphic tongue-in-cheek gusto at the museum.
The Rooms Of The Leprechaun Museum
Enhancing these tales are the aforementioned themed rooms. These include a tunnel full of optical illusions, a replica Giant's Causeway, a rainbow of light, a room full of furniture big enough to make even the tallest person feel as tiny as a leprechaun and more. They act as a great compliment to the stories, helping guests to experience Otherworld from every possible angle.
The Leprechaun Museum is open from 10am-6.30pm, daily, to ages 7 and above. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday night it opens for two one hour sessions, starting at 7pm and 8pm. These are strictly 18+.
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