Little Museum of Dublin

Last week, I was attended a special guided tour of the “Little Museum of Dublin” with a women’s social group to which I belong.

It is located in a lovely Georgian house just opposite St. Stephens Green, down from the Hibernian Club, where the club’s monthly meetings take place.  A person from the museum came to the club and spoke about the museum – unfortunately, I was not able to attend that, so when I saw the tour, I jumped on it.

After this tour, I’ll bring the kids back for a visit.   Soren would especially enjoy the U2 exhibition.   They have worksheets available at the museum for children of all ages that can help you get more out of your visit.   Plus the tour guides in the museum can give your children some special attention pointing out a fewinteractive artifacts in the museum, they let your kids handle – but do ask!  Take a photo of them in the old Dublin school desk, or making a speech from JFK’s lectern. The more they get involved, the more they learn.  They do things with schools too.

The Little Museum of Dublin tells the story of Dublin in the 20th century.    All items are donated  or are loan which makes it even cooler. They are always looking for interesting items, so if you have something historical here in Dublin – reach out to them!  

While we waited for the tour to start, we were free to explore the room downstairs which was a photographic exhibition. Then upstairs, a guide named June, brought us into two large rooms where you navigate your way from the early 1900’s to the 1990’s.  There you’ll see the story evolution of the society, from a political, social and cultural point of view.  She pointed out some key things.  Unfortunately when I tried to get back into the first room, to take photos, there was a private tour happening, so I could not re-enter.  The reason I didn’t take photos at first is 1) I wanted to pay attention to what she was pointing out and 2) there was way too many people. In addition to our group there were 6 additional adults, so photos would be an issue as there would no doubt be a person in the photo.  Having learned my lesson, I did manage take some photos in room #2.

There are more than 5000 artifacts on display, from bicycles, newspaper articles, photographs and rare objects like the lectern (stand) used by John Fitzgerald Kennedy when he visited Ireland and a first English edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

There is a permanent exhibition about the famous Irish band U2 up on the second floor. There are a lot of photographs, signed albums, concert tickets and other memorabilia on display. There’s even a Trabant car in the middle of the room which I took a photo of – yep with a person in the corner, but no matter how long I waited, I was NEVER alone for a second in any room.

I highly recommend visiting this museum whether you are from Dublin, Expat like our family or just a tourist in for a few days. They do a great job showing how Dublin has evolved over the last hundred years and the tour lasts 29 minutes – so even those strapped for time can squeeze it in.
I just saw that in addition to visiting the museum, they offer a 60-minute walking tour with an expert local guide Donal Fallon called WALK THE GREEN MILE.  It takes place on the weekends.  If interested click on the link and book in – they sell out.  In fact, all tours of the museum sell out often so best to book online.

Guinness Storehouse Experience – #1 Tourist Attraction in Ireland

With our friends Anthony & Megan in Dublin from America for some days, we chose to join them at Ireland’s #1 tourist attraction — The Guinness Storehouse Experience.  My suggestion was to arrange a sitter for the kids and make it an adult-only trip but Nils said how much Soren, at 7, would love it.   Well, after about 40 minutes and queuing in lines – both were done with it all.

We went on a Monday at 11 am – so the lines were fine… but I could only imagine the lines and crowds during the weekend.  Once you go through and pay [TIP: Avoid the lines & book online with a 10% discount]. You come up an escalator to a tour guide who gives a very brief speech about Arthur Guinness and points out the 9,000 YEAR lease, which is displayed in the glass in the floor.

From there you head out on your own, self-guided tour.  If you couldn’t read English, there are electronic devices in several languages which take you through an audio tour.

On the right side you have hundreds of Guinness bottles from the years and on the left is a great souvenir shop with tons of great stuff.  I picked up a 2015, heavy-duty, bottle opener magnet for the fridge.

From there, you start to progress through the different sections of the building, which is shaped like a glass in the middle. The entire building is an amazing engineering structure which has been modernized to make very interactive.

The first exhibits show how the “black stuff” is made with four ingredients – barley, hops, yeast and water.

I was a huge fan of the water behind the blue lights…  I had the kids toss a coin in for good luck.  The water that is used to brew the beer comes from the Wicklow Mountains and not from the River Liffey like most believe.

The second floor told about the magical 5th ingredient – Arthur Guinness himself.  You move from portrait to portrait.  Once you stood in front of it, it began to move and talk.  Soren & I were cracking up as it was so real – like the eyes moved with you as you walked away.It goes on to talk about the coppers, then the craftsmen who made these  hand-made barrels to transport the beer around the world.  I’d love to get my hands one).

A display explained how it was transported by horses, trains, barges, ships and trucks to over 150 countries around the world!!  In fact, a different recipe was used which contained more alcohol for the longer journey.

As you go up you come to a few different bars and restaurants (didn’t go in any of them), various advertising & memorabilia, interactive computers and so much more.

As you headed up a level you get to the tasting experience, where you can smell four different scents (Soren loved this part), then take a tiny glass of cold beer into a dark, oak room with portraits of the various men involved with the brewery.
You were then taught about how to drink it properly and once done, sent outside to learn how to pour your own Guinness.   At this point, Soren and Maebh headed up to the bar with Nils and us three stayed back to learn the art of a proper pour by Oshin.

Soren was enjoyed different things but liked the barley grains which he kept touching – probably like a sandbox.  Maebh was either tossing coins into the waterfall or the giant bottle cap chair.At the top, on floor 7, is the gravity bar which overlooks the entire city.  The bar up there was closed, but you could still enjoy the view with the pint you poured downstairs.

Overall I had a great day at the Guinness Store House Experience. My photos don’t do justice – so click here to see their website. It was interesting, my first time drinking a pint of Guinness!!  I’d highly recommend it to both tourists & locals.  I also think it would be a fabulous place to work! I thought it would be a great opportunity to try something very “touristy” which I have never done before.  We try to do a lot of touristy things while here in Ireland and truthfully have done more stuff around Ireland from the Burren to Dingle to Cork up to Carlingford but need want to do more in Dublin proper.  Weather pending, we hope to take the Viking Splash Tour tomorrow.Would I go back – Yes definitely!  I would gladly accompany any of our out-of-town guests and would to try a meal in one of their many restaurants.   Alternatively, I would HIGHLY recommend all our out-of-town guests go – we’ll watch their kids so they can enjoy thoroughly what we did.  Remember, book online – save money and time in those long lines!!  Oh and do it the day you do the Hop On & Off Bus as it’s in an area not too central to public transport.
And if you are a fan of distillery tours – you can check out Jamesons & Teeling both in Dublin!