The Little Museum of Dublin

Above: Welcome Desk Photo (A warm welcome from the Museum staff, credit The Little Museum of Dublin)

Planning a trip to Dublin can feel overwhelming. There are countless amazing museums and attractions to visit. Having spent so much time there as a child visiting my gran I was surprised there was still so much to see when I returned for my own weekend trip as an adult. When myself and my partner had a last minute opportunity to book a short break we settled on Dublin as I insisted he would love it. We went on great walking tours, ate good food and saw jazz musician Joey Dosik at The Sugar Club. One attraction really stood out though, The Little Museum of Dublin. 

You will find The Little Museum of Dublin on St Stephen’s Green in a tall Georgian townhouse overlooking the park. It can be reached via multiple bus routes and there is nearby paid parking available in The Fitzwilliam Hotel or on-street on St Stephen’s Green. From the moment you enter the friendly staff will make you feel welcomed, almost like going to someone’s house for a cup of tea. At this point you are free to either explore the collections on your own (due to the pandemic) or wait for one of the hourly tours to begin. There is a gorgeous living room style space to the front of the building with lovely armchairs and a sofa where you can sit to begin to take in all the information around you.

Front Room Image - The front room and starting point of the tour
PHOTOGRAPH BY The Little Museum of Dublin

As a massive history nerd (and history student at this time) I’ve always loved a good museum tour. There is something so different and personal about The Little Museum of Dublin though. They’ve curated an outstanding collection of personal artefacts from people across Ireland and the result is beautiful in it’s compassion, intimacy and understanding of its population. I would really recommend taking one of their guided tours, they’re usually every hour on the hour, to get to know the collections. The tour guides are perfectly balanced between funny and knowledgeable and I can truly say I’ve never been so entertained during a tour. Exploring the personally donated items in the collections you can begin to piece together the history of the people of Dublin. You’ll find photographs, posters and newspapers detailing the varied background of the city and its people. There is even a whole room dedicated to U2!

U2 Room Image Car - A whole room dedicated to U2
PHOTOGRAPH BY The Little Museum of Dublin

The Museum staff also provide more specific tours and discussions about the impact of particular groups in Dublin. Every Monday at 4pm there is Women’s History of Ireland tour and a Queer Dublin tour on every second Saturday at 4pm (these may be subject to change post-restrictions). If you are planning a trip it is definitely worth having a look at their what’s on section to see the themed tours and talks currently available. One unfortunate downside to the Museum is their lack of accessibility, due to the nature of the building the collections are not wheelchair accessible and there are a number of stairs to reach all the different exhibits and rooms.

Tour Guide Image - A fun guided tour of the collections
PHOTOGRAPH BY The Little Museum of Dublin

Over the course of your tour you will explore moments in Dublin’s history like John F Kennedy’s visit to Dublin in 1963, the storytelling of James Joyce and the history of the Dublin pub. The collections are so varied there is truly something for everyone here. Take some time after the guided tour to revisit the rooms that really sparked your interest for a chance to see the artefacts properly. There was always staff on hand during my visit to answer any follow up questions that occurred. At the end of your visit I would recommend a quick trip to the cafe Hatch and Sons for some excellent food and coffee to fuel you back up after all that learning.

Throughout the Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland The Little Museum has continued to provide visitors with engaging content. I have attended a number of their 120 Dublin Stories online, a great evening of historical discussion, wine tasting (paired with Santa Rita) and learning. These talks are via Zoom every Thursday at 6pm and you can watch previous discussions here. They are currently hosting The Dublin Lectures online with David Dickson which are also done via Zoom. The series will be six 45 minute talks costing €50 for the full set, beginning on 2nd March and happening every Tuesday evening. The lectures will cover the history of Dublin right up to the arrival of Google in 2003 and will be excellent I’m sure! More information about this event is available here.

With the ongoing changes in restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic some of the information in this article is subject to change. I would recommend when the time comes paying a quick visit to the Little Museum of Dublin website for updated information about bookings and tours. There are simply not enough words to describe all the collections in this special Museum, I would simply encourage anyone with some time in Dublin to pay it a visit.

Opening Hours- Currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions

Entry Fee - €10 Standard Admission (€8 Senior or Student)

Free Admission for Frontline workers

Annual Membership- €30

*    *    *

Lena Frain-Atallah

Lena is an Archives and Records Management masters student at the University of Dundee. Having graduated with a history degree in 2018 she has lived and travelled internationally, and is currently based in London. Passionate about literature, archives and heritage you can follow her on Twitter @LAtalllah