Museum waxes lyrical about effect of pope’s visit to Ireland

Museum waxes lyrical about effect of pope’s visit to Ireland

The papal visit to Ireland has ended up being a blessing for one well-known Dublin tourism spot.

Visitor numbers to the National Wax Museum Plus in the Irish capital have swelled since Pope Francis made his historic visit to the country in August.

National Wax Museum Plus general manager Ed Coleman said everyone wanted a selfie with Pope Francis.

The museum has positioned the life-like waxwork next to the chair from the refurbished 1979 Popemobile.

We don't want people to manhandle (the waxworks) but we want people to get up close, put their arm around the wax figure, even give them a kiss

“You can sit in Pope John Paul II’s chair beside Francis or stand beside Pope Francis and get your photograph taken with him,” Mr Coleman said.

Just days before the pontiff visited Ireland, the museum unveiled a waxwork of him and the refurbished Popemobile used by John Paul II during his historic visit to Ireland in 1979.

Crowds gathered on O’Connell Street as the Popemobile took to the streets with the waxwork of the popes on board.

“We weren’t expecting the reaction that we got from (it),” he said.

Mr Coleman added: “We made so many people’s days when we brought Pope Francis out on to the street. So many people were stopping by and getting photos done.”

And the pope is not the only major attraction in the museum.

“We have Donald Trump on the other side of the room,” he said.

Mr Coleman said the controversial US president was also proving popular with the public.

“Love him or hate him, everyone wants to have their photo taken with him. Some people pose with their thumbs up, some people pose with their thumbs down,” he said.

“It sparks emotion and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Ed Coleman, general manager of the National Wax Museum Plus (Niall Carson/PA)
Ed Coleman, general manager of the National Wax Museum Plus (Niall Carson/PA)

He added: “We want people to be immersed in the wax museum. We don’t want people to manhandle (the waxworks) but we want people to get up close, put their arm around the wax figure, even give them a kiss.”

Mr Coleman described trading during the month of October as “unprecedented”.

“We weren’t expecting it to be as high as it was,” he said.

“We saw a massive spike and we had almost 12,000 visitors in October, up 20% (on last year)… It’s the busiest October since the museum opened more than 30 years ago.”

Mr Coleman added: “We do attribute a lot of that to the publicity we did around the pope’s visit, so we feel very delighted about how it all worked out.”

He said it had helped the museum pull itself back from a difficult summer due to the extraordinarily hot weather the country experienced.

Mr Coleman said that during the summer people were opting for outdoor activities over visiting a museum.

The museum has plans for a Game Of Thrones-themed display (Niall Carson/PA)
The museum has plans for a Game Of Thrones-themed display (Niall Carson/PA)

As a result, he does not expect they will hit their target of 200,000 visitors by the end of 2018.

“I don’t think we’re going to get there. Even though the October was so busy, it still doesn’t account for the drop-off in summer.”

Mr Coleman is excited about the museum’s plans in 2019 for a Game Of Thrones-themed exhibition, which will open to coincide with the release of the final series of the programme.

“It’s going to feel like you’re going to be walking into one of the locations in Game Of Thrones,” he said.

“There’s going to be a dragon coming through one of the walls. (There) is going to be a throne to sit on… and then we’re going to have a few characters.”

Among the waxworks being considered are Daenerys Targaryen, portrayed by Emilia Clarke, and Ser Davos Seaworth, played by Liam Cunningham.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Pope blamed for drop in Dublin Zoo visitor numbersPope blamed for drop in Dublin Zoo visitor numbers

Pope Francis blamed for fall in visitors to Dublin ZooPope Francis blamed for fall in visitors to Dublin Zoo

PAC to review spend on luxury toilets for papal visitPAC to review spend on luxury toilets for papal visit

Church appeals for donations to plug €4m debt from World Meeting of FamiliesChurch appeals for donations to plug €4m debt from World Meeting of Families


More in this Section

Homecoming date for victorious Dublin footballers announced Homecoming date for victorious Dublin footballers announced

Gardaí in Cork renew appeal for witnesses to serious assault on Patrick StGardaí in Cork renew appeal for witnesses to serious assault on Patrick St

8 minutes away from gas supply being ignited: 19 families homeless after Dublin flats fire8 minutes away from gas supply being ignited: 19 families homeless after Dublin flats fire

Man killed in early-morning Kerry collisionMan killed in early-morning Kerry collision


Lifestyle

I’m giggling but also it is tinged with tension. I peep out from behind the large sycamore. They are three trees away.Opening Lines: I’m just a bearded wheezing giggly man on the ground

I did my Leaving Cert in June and have just started college this week, so my school experience is extremely fresh in my memory. I went to Davis College in Mallow and it was a fantastic experience. I was the loud obnoxious child at the back of the classroom from day one. I had to (and still do, by the way) have an opinion on everything.Stand up and be counted : The Young Offender's Demi Isaac Oviawe on college and school life

When I was in secondary school I started working part-time as a waitress and I suppose I caught the hospitality bug back then.You've been served: General manager at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa Caitriona O’Keeffe

That an American study has found straight women prefer dad bods (“an untoned and slightly plump male physique, especially one that is considered attractive”) to six packs and hard shiny abs comes as no great surprise.Outside the Box: Tone down guys, us girls don’t mind moobs

More From The Irish Examiner