- Lifestyle & Sports
- 01 Jun 17
Hot Press was on hand to catch the launch of the National Wax Museum Plus' new premises on Westmoreland St. Photos by Karl Leonard
James Lafayette was photographer to the Royals, and some of the figures here would’ve had their portraits taken here,” National Wax Museum Plus owner Patrick Dunning explains to a crowd of nodding media types.
Hot Press’ biggest kids are in the writers’ room of the iconic Lafayette building that sits between D’Olier Street and Westmoreland Street, where we have a view looking straight up O’Connell Street that’ll be even more iconic once the Luas works are finally complete.
Sharing the space are Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh and Oscar Wilde - in waxwork form, having survived the move from the museum’s old premises on College Green. Mimosas in hand, we toast the brand-new gaff - an iconic, central spot for a museum full of icons central to Irish history.
Don’t get me wrong though - this is far from a dusty old place for bookworms only. As we’re led through the double doors and into the exhibition, Dunning tells us to “forget about the reality of out there.” Indeed the museum is offering a whole new reality of its own, with its own Wax Magic augmented reality app.
It’s a really impressive bit of tech which adds so much to the experience - in the writers’ room alone, Brendan Behan’s face becomes animated, reciting us some poetry, and an innocuous looking sketch of the Liffey springs to life, showing us an animated pictorial history of Dublin from Viking longships to the Rising.
The first figure we’re greeted with is a new one - nestling beside Darth Maul and Liam Neeson as Qi-Gon-Jinn is Daisy Ridley as Rey. “We’ve been told that she’ll come and visit next time she’s in Ireland,” Dunning beams. It’s the first of three new figures unveiled on our tour - all selected by public surveys, Dunning explains.
The next unveiled was the number-one public choice, Dunning says - drawing a chorus of groans as it’s revealed to nobody else but Trump. Every figure in the Museum is available for purchase if you so wish - Trump will set you back €75,000, we’re told. The next new figure - a fantastic likeness of Fr. Ted - is unveiled by Dermot Morgan’s son Don and grandsons Dermot (20 months) and Peter (7 months).
Kids will love the more fantastical sections where Spongebob, Batman and The Simpsons feature, and there’s a number of tunnels they can use to explore and get their imaginations going even more.
But then we’re taken to the cellars for some nightmares on wax at the Haunted Hotel. It’s a dungeon full of jump-scares and grotesquely mangled wax bodies that make for a genuinely creepy atmosphere. “You should have seen it a couple of weeks ago,” one staff member groaned. “It was a construction site, but still had all the bodies everywhere - even worse.”
At the end, one figure sits in an electric chair - you can pay €2 to fry him. One journo obliges. “I’ll be waking up in a cold sweat tonight,” he grimaces as the figure’s screams echo down the cellars.
At the end of the tour, there’s the option to get a wax model of your hand, and the option to 3D print your own face is coming. The museum will stay open until 10 each night, hoping to attract teens by providing an alternative to the pub.
“We want to extend the boundaries of Temple Bar to this side of Westmoreland Street,” Dunning told us. If they succeed in an ambitious plan to have the new Westmoreland Luas stop named the National Wax Museum Plus stop, they could very well do it.