I had a few hours free on my one day in Dublin today, and normally when I'm traveling and that happens, I ask myself: "What would be a local establishment I could visit that is stereotypically fun and cheesy, yet still vaguely tasteful?"
Because last night, on my taxi ride in from the airport, I saw a sign that immediately erased all doubt as to what I'd be doing on this Tuesday afternoon. I mean, the sign may as well have said was, "This way, Joëlle."
It didn't say that. What it did say was, "National Leprechaun Museum."
A Leprechaun museum?!? How didn't I know this existed? Why wasn't I informed during my previous trips to Ireland? Why isn't this being advertised everywhere in the entire world? Why isn't there a direct shuttle bus from the airport?
But I digress. The heart of what I'm getting at is this: Today, I freakin' visited a Leprechaun museum.
And it exceeded my expectations. We had an Irish storyteller / guide with us the whole time, entertaining us with folkloric tales while celtic music played in the background. We heard about the mischievous leprechaun who confused a local woman who was after his pot of gold by tying red socks on every tree in the forest, hiding which tree he'd buried it under. We heard about banshees and Irish faeries, and the surprisingly moving (like, I was almost in tears) story of the birth of Oisín, child of the hunter warrior Fionn mac Cumhail and the woman Sadhbh, who was turned into a deer by a druid, doomed to be hunted and taken away from her son. (Seriously, the storyteller put so much emotion into this one I was totally verklempt.)
Was the museum cheesy? You betcha. A pot of gold made of what looked like plastic. A wishing well made of styrofoam (didn't stop me from tossing in a coin, because you just never know). And my favorite: giant furniture so that you too could feel like a tiny leprechaun! I was so excited about this. I bounded right over to a giant chair, intending to simply bounce my way right up on top of it.
I'm a YOGA teacher! I thought to myself motivationally, visualizing a graceful, flexible, smooth movement that would vault me right up on top of this eight-foot tall behemoth.
Unfortunately, I thought this to myself immediately before literally face-planting into said chair. Gracelessly face-planting. My trademark move. One of my fellow tour-goers - a kind woman who had to be two decades older than I am - came over to me, sturdily cupped her palms, and asked, "need a boost?" (I did. I did so ever need a boost.)
It wasn't pretty, but I dragged, clawed, and stumbled my way up there, smiled for the fuzziest picture ever, and didn't kill myself on the way down. So ... success!
Also successful? My apparent ability to rock a beard. On the way out, I stopped to sit on a toadstool, don a tall green hat, and take a trademark #selfiewithSeamus. I think I actually made that beard look pretty good, no?
I loved my time as an honorary leprechaun today, and as always, I've come away charmed by the Irish. Thank you, Dublin, and until next time.
Spare a pot of gold for me.