Recently I was invited into the Epic Ireland Visitor Centre to check it out. It was a visitor attraction I wanted to see so when I was asked to come in I was delighted.
I’d like to thank The Tweeting Goddess Samantha Kelly for setting this up and to Hannah & Aileesh for the numerous conversations we had via email in the build up.
Originally, myself & The Missus had attempted to visit during the weekend on a few occasions however that proved to be more difficult in reality as we struggled to find a babysitter so I decided I’d go in during the week. Only caveat to that was I’d have Nip#2 with me (with Nip#1 being in school). Bringing Nip#2 was a gamble as depending on her mood, it could be amazing or the complete opposite!!
Epic Ireland Visitor Centre is located in the CHQ Building – which has to be said is pretty amazing – Dublin 1 right beside the River Liffey. It’s as central as it gets making it very easy to locate.
What is the Epic Ireland Visitor Centre?
In a nutshell, Epic Ireland is an amazing interactive, digital, audio & visual tour to showcase how the Irish have helped to mould & shape not just our country, but the globe.
From our rich history pre & post independence, to emigration & the journey our ancestors had to take, this tour covers everything Irish including Food, Music, Dance, Sports, Poetry, Artists, Actors & Story Telling, just to name a few.
We’ve had a big say in the world for such a small nation and now the proof is all under one roof for you to soak up. And you know what?, it’s bloody impressive.
We were greeted with such a warm welcome by Sarah & Rory when we arrived, it really set the tone. ‘Agh, you’re the Daddy Blogger?!, Come in, come in, we’ve been expecting you!!‘. First impressions last and brilliant staff will always leave a great impression. Having worked in sales, account management & numerous pubs, I am a sucker for treating the customer as king and all the staff did exactly that from start to finish. Good start!
Like all the Irish diaspora, our journey started with Emigration.
When you enter emigration the kind folks give you your own Epic Ireland Visitor Centre Passport. This maps out your journey for the tour. You’re advised to get your passport checked in every room (see photos below). Then at the end, you can swipe it to unlock additional content. I failed to do this as Nip#2 had lost the plot by then so I was like Snagglepuss & it was ‘exit stage left!!‘. Sickened I missed it all the same.
Of course Nip #2 only slept for 10 mins before we got there and she woke up just as we arrived – brilliant!! I knew there & then it was gonna be a tricky tour. She is not a quiet kiddo nor is there an off/chill out button. When she’s not happy, boy will she let you know.
But I’m telling you something, I killed the saying ‘Men can’t multitask‘ stone dead that day!!! Being able to tweet/do a Facebook Live video/Instagram story with a crying baba alternating between being strapped to my chest / in her buggy while she was going nuts (at times) isn’t the easiest thing to do – trust me !!!!!
Technology at it’s best…
The use of technology to help explain & show various sections of the exhibition is phenomenal and it definitely captures the younger generations attention immediately. Even for those who don’t get tech, they’re still easy to use. I stood beside a few school tours and the kids where over like a shot to the touch screens to read & listen. It’s what they know & understand. Nice move Epic Ireland.
So many informative sections along your journey.
When you go you’ll see on the passport sections such as ‘Conflict’ / ‘Belief’ / ‘Eating & Drinking’ etc. The sport section grabbed my attention. Two rooms called ‘Changing the Game‘ & ‘Playing the World‘ where brilliant. Brilliant use of technology again, this photo shows an interactive table bursting with info on numerous sports where the Irish made a name for themselves. Simply placing a round disk onto one of the 10 white circles unleashes a world-wind of info on any sport played by an Irish person. Turning the disk right or left displayed the info in such a cool way. I could have spent all my time here but Nip#2 had other ideas!! When I go back, I’ll be making a bee line for these rooms in particular.
Knowledge is key – new knowledge is amazing.
Some of the information I soaked up blew me away. For example, I just simply didn’t know that NASA named a Lunar Crater – which left an indent on the moon – after an Irish Astronomer called Agnes Clerke from Cork. In football, a man called Paddy O’Connell led the way for other Irish to follow for sure. I’m talking about from 1909 onwards. From Dublin, he played for many clubs in the UK including Manchester United. More famously, he managed Real Betis in Spain before being the man to save the mighty – wait for it – Barcelona from bankruptcy! (How class is that?!!). Robert ‘Danny’ Blanchflower was captain of Northern Ireland & Tottenham Hotspur around 1953 and in 2009 he topped a pole as Spurs best player ever!! Lastly, Liam ‘Billy’ Whelan (also from Dublin) played for Manchester United in 1953, scored 26 goals in 1956/1957 but tragically died in the Man Utd Munich Air Disaster at the very young age of 22. None of which I knew prior to today!
Gangs of New York wasn’t just a film ya know!
This was probably the most eye catching image of the tour (or certainly one of them) in the area titled ‘Achieving Infamy‘. Here we learned about the infamous Irish gangs & gangsters. Outlaws such as Irish-American Billy the Kid (who was more than likely born in the US but of Irish immigrants) & Ned Kelly (Irish-Australian) being the most famous. When you go to the centre, make sure to take a look at this section.
Music & Dance, an Irish tradition
Irish Music & Dance – well you don’t need me to tell you about the effect both of these Irish ‘exports’ have had across the world. But older artists like John McKenna & Michael Colman were the original artists way before those who we know now. They set the standard for others to follow. Today, U2 & Riverdance hold the position as our biggest & best exports in the music & dance industries (happy to be corrected here btw!!).
Best of the Rest
Storytelling / Theatre / Poetry / Acting / Writers / Drink / Food. Holy feckin moly I could write all day about these!!! But I think I’ll let you find out for yourselves when you visit Epic Ireland Visitor Centre.
What I would say is that at the end of the tour, there is a Genealogy section which I understand is absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t know as my ‘tour boss‘ (yep, Nip#2!) decided I needed to run out the door before she started World War 3 🙂 !!!!
My verdict – amazing. You could spend hours there, genuinely. Get lost in the best of Ireland and what the Irish have done and achieved the world over. We are pretty special.
You’ll leave with your chest out and your head happy. #proudtobeirish
I’ll sign off with some other photos from our day in the Epic Ireland Visitor Centre.
(Epic Ireland covered the costs of my visit in return for my review & social sharing on the day).