National Wax Museum (Ireland)
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The National Wax Museum is a privately owned waxworks museum in Dublin, Ireland. On 7 October, 2009, the museum officially re-opened (although it had been open to the public a number of weeks prior) following extensive renovation at its new location in the left flank of the Irish Houses of Parliament, at Foster Place.
Formerly, the museum was situated on Granby Row, but this building demolished to make way for a hotel. In the past, it was a former site to prayer rooms converted into a cinema and then into a waxworks (now being a hotel after its closure).
The museum was previously owned by Donie Cassidy, a Senator and former TD. It is now owned by Music Recording entrepreneur, Patrick Dunning, owner of Grouse Lodge Studios. It suffered serious neglect from the mid-1980s, with low visitor numbers, and very few waxworks being added, except those of new Presidents of Ireland and Taoisigh.
In the previous Wax Museum building, there was a mixture of wax figures and various other figures that were not modelled in wax (mainly because the wax materials were not suited to such. For example: the Lord of the Rings character, Gollum is made from fibre glass rather than wax). This can be to do with problems relating to the figure's weight and skin tones (wax is a heavy material and also useful for a basis of realistic human skin tones) or simply on the artist's style of work.
The front of the building bore a striking mythical Irish giant. At the entrance were some figures including an impressive Gollum figure. The path through the museum brings visitors to a scene with figures such as Crocodile Dundee, E.T., and Irish Sporting and entertainment stars. It went upstairs through a winding staircase, surrounding a jack in the beanstalk scene, complete with giant. From there, visitors entered the Children's World (with the head of the outside Giant peaking in), and witness various story book characters, and children's television show characters. Main attractions here were tunnels in which children could crawl through, the Flintstones, the Power Rangers, and Bob the Builder.
Visitors would then move downstairs to witness a scene of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then on to view many Irish figures of historical importance including Wolfe Tone, the 1916 Rising, and Michael Collins. Following this were various Irish Presidents including Éamon de Valera, Mary McAleese, and Taoisigh. This led on towards figures of Irish theatre, writers, television presenters and G.A.A. stars. Moving from Irish figures to famous world leaders and figures such as Princess Diana, World War II leaders, modern American and Middle-Eastern and Northern Irish leaders of the Northern troubles. Then visitors could witness a re-enactment of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting in three-dimensional wax form.
As visitors went downstairs again, they passed Christopher Reeve as Superman, and see the Pope and Cardinals standing on top of the actual Popemobile from Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland in 1979. Visitors then entered a room with the Simpsons family while a screen would play a film for people to sit down and enjoy or take a photo opportunity in a set of medieval stocks. Visitors were then given a choice to enter the Chamber of horrors (or bypass it and enter the next phase after it), with horror characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein, the Werewolf and the Mummy. Also displayed were figures like Hannibal Lector as he rattled prison bars, the X-files alien, and Freddy Krueger, amongst others.
Visitors then entered another tunnel opportunity for children again and then onto the "Hall of Megastars" with figures like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, U2, Tina Turner, Ronan Keating, and Irish rock star Phil Lynott taking the stage. The tour then ended with entertaining scenes dedicated to Batman with Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze, and Star Wars with Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn in battle with Darth Maul as well as Yoda and young Anakin Skywalker.
Wax figure damages
In June 2007, while the wax figures were in storage awaiting a new home, break-ins occurred in the warehouses. Many figures were damaged by vandals, including smashed heads. There were also a number of figures stolen including Bob the Builder as well as many army-style uniforms from scenes such as the 1916 Rising. This incident created even harder circumstances in which to try relocate the Wax Museum. The museum's head sculptor, P.J. Heraty was assigned the job of revamping and often, recreating the broken figures.
Although it had been contemplated to relocate the museum in Smithfield, the museum has now reopened at a new location in Foster Place in College Green, Dublin 2.It is now titled under the name "The Wax Museum Plus" and is open to visitors.
Like the previous museum, it includes many of the figures mentioned. New features include scenes of Ireland through time from a mythology section to the 1916 Rising, a smaller but more updated Chamber of horrors bearing a more "mature" range of figures, a science department, a music recording studio that allows visitors to interact with a mixing console, and a YouTube music video recording studio titled "The Wax Factor" so visitors can sing along with their favourite tracks, star in their favourite music videos and upload them to YouTube.