Irish Storytelling Tradition at its best
September 23rd, 2010 • Culture Briefings
We just returned from a short trip to Ireland. It is heartfelt when I say that Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve visited and even one of the best vacations I’ve had. It’s a country with million shades of green, rainbows that appear and disappear with the chimerical weather, fluffy yellow sheep that cross the roads at their plea sure and a stunning landscape that forces you to stop and give Ireland the attention and awe it is due.
I could wax eloquently about the mountains and the people. (not the food!) But right now I want to share my brief sojourn to the coolest art exhibit I’ve been to. We spent a few hours in Dublin and couldn’t resist the “National Leprechaun Museum” signs in the city. We followed teh signs and paid the 14 Euros fee to the museum. Absolutely unsure of what to expect, we walked inside with a group of Italians, Norwegians and a woman from North Carolina.
Our introduction to the museum began with a brief history of the leprechaun and its place in Irish stories and fantasies. As we traced the origins of the little green men, we learned a lot about the Irish penchant for storytelling and weaving tales. We also learned how the Irish bought the leprechaun stories to America and were shocked a few decades later when America packaged and exported back the leprechauns to Ireland in form of Simpons (the Leprechaun episode) and drawings on boxes of cereal. Cultural trade!
We also learned why storytelling is at the core of Irish culture. With its tumultuous history, the Irish often have had nothing but stories and tales and conversations to carry forward and pass on to the next generations. The magic, wonder and imagination is the gift the pass on – and evident in Ireland’s rich literary legacy. (Ireland is the only country that has three n oble laureates)
Anyways, so this exhibit was the brainchild of a local Dublin architect, Tom O’Rahilly. From what I was told, Tom is obsessed with storytelling and wanted to create a fun, experiential way to experience Irish stories. And boy, did he!
The museum has twelve rooms that you are free to explore, take pictures and play around in. Each room offers a very interesting perspective of dimension, color, story and play. There’s the Giant’s Causeway, the Tunnel (an important symbol in fantasy storytelling!) Life-sized furniture, Rainbow colors, Story walls & so on. At the end of the museum is a place to chill, make drawings and read more about the rich Irish tradition of st ories, faeries and leprechauns.
Here are some photos from our visit to the museum. The museum is only six months old so still making into all teh Guidebooks. Serendipity at its best! And I’ll admit, I’m psyched to h ave had such a rich, fulfilling and wholesome experience in Dublin. Even though we only spent a few hours in the city, it was absolutely worth it.
Storytelling is my passion as well. I wis h I could do it as well as others but I try, in my little ways. Maybe that’s why this particular visit has so profoundly affected me. I can tell you one thing for sure, I’ll be courting Ireland and its stories for a long, long time to come.