The Little Museum of Dublin is too small to cater for rising visitor numbers

More than 101,000 people visited the attraction last year.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

VISITOR NUMBERS AT the Little Museum of Dublin grew by a quarter last year, but the site may struggle to handle any more patrons.

The museum – which tells the modern history of Ireland’s capital through a collection of artefacts and bric-a-brac donated by members of the public – welcomed more than 20,000 additional visitors in 2015, according to new accounts for the tourist attraction.

In total, more than 101,000 people passed through its doors by the end of last year. However, the Stephens Green building is struggling to cater for extra visitors.

Speaking to Fora, museum director Trevor White confirmed that the attraction is experiencing a capacity problem, but added: “I’m optimistic that working with our patrons in Dublin City Council, we can give this great city the full-scale museum it deserves.”

According to the directors’ report, a new permanent exhibition on Dublin’s famous lord mayor Alfie Byrne and “an expanded and ambitious temporary exhibition programme in Ireland and the USA” led to the boost in visitor numbers.

The non-profit highlighted a number of events from throughout the year that got people in the door, including an exhibition on the painter Christy Brown – subject of the 1989 film My Left Foot – which travelled to New York, as well as sell-out public lectures by broadcaster Joe Duffy and Irish Stock Exchange chief Deirdre Somers.

Writing in the directors’ report, the museum’s chairman, Brody Sweeney, who founded O’Briens sandwich bars, praised the museum’s staff for its success.

“Much of the work is done by an exceptionally committed group of volunteers and interns who carry out their work professionally and with good cheer,” he wrote.

“We also acknowledge the work done by our full-time management team and staff who demonstrate in their daily practice a belief that we can and we should run the best small city museum in the world.”

17/9/2010 Your Country Your Call Competitions Brody Sweeney
Source: Photocall Ireland

Sweeney wrote that “2016 has so far proved to be successful” and added: “We look forward to an exciting year of ambitious projects, exhibitions and innovations which will entertain both the citizens and visitors to the Irish capital.”

Turnover increased by 23% to around €643,000 for the financial year ended 31 December 2015.


Takings at the door were up by roughly €54,000 during the 12-month period to around €250,000, but income from sponsorships was down by €20,000 compare to the year before.

That said, cash donations more than trebled to roughly €28,600 while government grants for the year doubled to €110,000.

“The museum maintains a strong relationship with Dublin City Council, our primary patron,” the directors’ report said.

“A continuation of existing relations and increase in funding coincides with the level of expansion and unprecedented growth that this young cultural institution is experiencing.”

U2 room 2 The museum's U2 room
Source: The Little Museum of Dublin

The Little Museum of Dublin membership scheme, which was launched in 2014, attracted more than 1,000 people in its first year.

Current exhibitions include Brand New Retro, a showcase of images, articles and advertisements from 1950 to 1980.

There is also a permanent display of U2 memorabilia including a life-size sculpture of Bono’s MacPhisto character from the Zoo TV days and a pack of U2-themed condoms.

Earlier this year, the Little Museum won the prestigious 2016 European Union cultural heritage prize.