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Step back in time for a capital history

The Little Museum of Dublin is exactly what it says on the tin. It is a little museum displaying everyday items from Dublin throughout the 20th century. Located in a Georgian house opposite St Stephen's Green, the collection is displayed in two main rooms upstairs on the first floor.

The first of these is a typically styled drawing room, where onlookers from the street might have gazed up with envy at the rich Dubliners in all their finery back in bygone days. There's a cosy feel to the room with couches, sweets on the table and newspapers to read. I almost felt at home. Copies of The Irish Press and Evening Mail from the 1960s cover the coffee table.

History

The walls take us on a journey from the 1900s up to the 1920s. This room is filled with plenty of political and social history from a time of massive political change.

The exhibition takes us through the 1916 Rising and the formation of the new State, with the names of those who were executed, and drawings of James Connolly, Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith.

The second room is filled with memorabilia from the 1930s all the way up to 1999. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling, so it takes quite a bit of time to look at each individual item. The items range from commemorative pieces of well-known people to random, nostalgic items.

And much as I enjoyed trying out an old typewriter from the 1960s, I have found a new appreciation for the computer I am typing on.

You can also get your hands on a working 'grip tester' from the 1940s, which even came with a list of which groups had the weakest grip.

Bottom of the list were bankers and, sadly, I came in significantly below what was considered a banker's strength.

Over the mantelpiece is a picture of O'Connell Street from the 1960s. Gone are the days when you could drive up O'Connell Street and just park your car outside Clerys.

Nelson's Pillar stands proudly in the centre of the picture, before it was bombed to the ground in the 1960s.

Tours

Tours are not at fixed times apart from special ones given by the curator on Thursday evenings and the director on Friday afternoons. Other tours appear when there is a decent gathering.

The tour guides are happy to answer questions at all times and seem to give tours when asked. During my trip, the tour guide was quite animated and shared stories about the artefacts and the people involved that visitors would not know from just walking around the museum.

However, if you are unlucky enough to be one of the only Irish people in your group, you will most likely be constantly asked if you know things and embarrassed when you don't know facts like Dun Laoghaire was once called Kingstown.

Exhibitions

At the moment, a Bram Stoker collection resides in the museum gallery on the ground floor.

Well worth a look considering the Dracula author's great-grand-nephew sees it as the most important collection of material related to Bram that has ever been put on public display.

It contains the earliest inscribed copy of Dracula as well as the first Irish translation, Stoker's first published short story and family artefacts that have never been seen by the public before.

Things to note before you go

Adults are €5, students and seniors are €3 and jobseekers and children under 10 are free. It's also free every Wednesday between 1pm and 6pm.

The museum is located on St Stephen's Green, just around the corner from Dawson Street.

It's different to most museums, in that you can sit on the seats in the drawing room and there are sweets that you are allowed to eat.

There are toilets and a shop on site but no cafe. However, Harry's Cafe around the corner on Dawson Street or, if you're feeling flush, the Shelbourne Hotel is just down the road. It's a great location for a great museum.


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