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New National Leprechaun Museum opens its doors in Dublin

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The quirky National Leprechaun Museum has opened its doors in Dublin city center.

Museum director and designer Tom O'Rahilly began planning the construction of the museum in 2003.

The Irish Times newspaper had a sneak preview of the museum before it opened. "It has an overscaled room, giant maps, and of course a shop, but is it leprechauny enough?" reads the preview.

O'Rahilly says that "it didn’t start out as a commercial venture,” and the recession has made people "look at things differently in our society." For O'Rahilly, the museum is about that great Irish tradition of story telling.

Visitors will be personally guided through the museum, and the idea is to give everyone "the leprechaun experience," which "means feeling small."

Visitors will walk through optical and physical illusions, which will make them like a leprechaun with everything sized much bigger.

There are multiple rooms reconstructing the leprechaun world, including a rainbow with a pot of "real" gold.

O'Rahilly says that through the use of 3-D illusions, visitors will also be made to feel like they are inside one of Ireland's neolithic sites, such as Newgrange.

The remainder of the tour will feature a well that is surrounded by floor to ceiling tree trunks, which tells the story of a man trying to capture a leprechaun.

"There’ll be fairy dust and magical things will happen to your reflection in the water. Water represents a transfer to another world," said development and marketing manager Ciara Gogarty.

The Irish Times says: "It’s a little hard to believe there is going to be such demand for visits to a museum dedicated to something that does not actually exist."

Fair point, but aren't there a lot of other institutions in Ireland that use bells and whistles to create the illusion of things that also don't exist?

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