Little people: leprechaun museum to open in Dublin on Wednesday

A leading Irish folklorist has dismissed suggestions that the world's first leprechaun museum, due to open this week, will exacerbate the Irish stereotype.

The National Leprechaun Museum will open this Wednesday in Twilfit House at Dublin's Jervis Street.

"I think we can grow up a little bit when it comes to suggestions like this. This is not reinforcing stereotypes. We can surely move on from what other people outside the country think. The museum has both a comical and a serious element, and there is enough seriousness in Ireland at the moment as it is," said Daithí Ó hÓgáin.

Ó hÓgáin, who has taken a trip through the museum in its final preparatory stages, says the leprechaun gallery has both "mystical and psychological aspects".

"People will be very surprised. The museum actually has some very psychological features for the adults as well as comical elements for the kids. It will be important for both tourists and children to learn a little bit about Irish fairy lore which goes way back into ancient Ireland to places like Newgrange."

Renowned designer Tom O'Rahilly has been in charge of steering the design of the museum since the idea was conceived in 2003.

"Preparations are going fine, but I am incredibly busy at the moment getting ready for next week. It is my job to come up with ideas for this project and make it all a reality. It really has been a question of exploring and coming up with new ideas and concepts. This is going to be a permanent fixture in Dublin, and we have received a good amount of support from other museums and organisations," he said.

Although all information on the museum is being kept secret until Wednesday, it is understood it will contain rooms with giant-sized furniture to portray what life is like as one of the mythical little creatures, as well as a simulation of life beneath the Giant's Causeway. Admission prices for the museum have been set at €10 for adults, €7 for children and students and €27 for a family of four.

An advertisement for the museum says: 'Feel what it's like to journey deep beneath the rocks of the Giant's Causeway, open up your mind to the sights and stories of Ireland's mythical otherworld on a trip to fairy hill, experience what it's like to live in a leprechaun-sized world and journey to the end of the rainbow to see if the elusive crock of gold really exists'.