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take a tour

The Wax Museum is back (again) - just don't call it a Wax Museum

We took a tour. There weren’t any waxworks – but Brendan Behan’s floating head appeared for a chat.

THE WAX MUSEUM has a new home.

At least, the entity generally known as the Wax Museum has a new home.

There are all sorts of newfangled whistles and bells on offer at the attraction’s latest location overlooking O’Connell Bridge at the Westmoreland Street building that formerly played home to the Man United shop (and later the Lafayette nightclub).

In addition to those well-travelled waxworks of Bono and Bertie Ahern (etc) that we all remember from school tours, the backers of this latest reimagining of the attraction are promising Augmented Reality features (the figures come out and talk to you, via your phone), three dimensional scanning (you’ll be able to get a model of yourself … if you so desire) and all manner of large scale, state-of-the-art sets and figures.

Star Wars features heavily. There’s also a Father Ted room.

And while the man behind the museum’s revamp, entrepreneur Paddy Dunning, was glad of the opportunity to show reporters around, he did get a little bogged down on how to describe the new offering.

Should we even call it a ‘museum’?

Here’s a sample of his ad-hoc Q&A:

A museum is somewhere where you exhibit items but don’t sell them… So we’re not a museum.
We’ve taken a brand, a name… But it’s not a museum. We’re at the cutting edge of a retail experience. That’s really important to us. We’re not a museum per se. We used to be a museum. We used to show stuff. But now we show and we sell and we integrate you in the whole experience.

Reporter: If someone was to ask me where I was this morning what would I say to them?

You could say you were at the Wax Museum Plus, but it’s much more than that… It’s not a wax museum. It’s a cutting edge visitor attraction for the 21st Century.

Can’t watch the video? Click here

If – for whatever reason – you require a lifesize reproduction of Albert Reynolds or The Edge, you can pop in and chat to them about having a spare one made up, Dunning explained.

Similarly, all the new sets that have been designed for the new ‘museum’ can be reproduced and repurposed for your home and office (if you have deep enough pockets).

In a new departure, customers will be able to replicate themselves via that aforementioned 3D printing technology. People can have themselves scanned – and anything from a mini-bust to a full sized figure can be produced.

The existing waxworks cost anything from €20,000 up to €120,000, said Dunning – and they’ve been sold all over the world in the last few years.

The prices vary dramatically depending how complicated the piece is. Gerry Adams, for instance, would be more expensive because of all that beard-work. Gay Byrne, by comparison, would be a relative bargain (and there’s a two-for-one deal for Jedward).

Phil Lynott is by far the most popular figure, by the way.

They’ve sold more than ten versions of the beloved Thin Lizzy singer, at around €45,000 a piece.

Brendan Behan’s head

Dunning – the man the renowned Grouse Lodge recording studios in Westmeath and the Temple Lane studios in Temple Bar – said his designers were working towards an early-April opening date.

As you can see from the tour he gave to reporters, the team have quite a bit of work to do over the next few weeks… There were no wax-works on display yet – just some impressive looking sets, and demo versions of the Augmented Reality features.

“Brendan Behan’s head is in a box in my office at the moment,” one of the team explained, helpfully. The figures – some new, some old – will be installed in the various new sections once the final coat of paint goes on.

Can’t watch the video? Click here

Can’t watch the video? Click here.

ocon "We're literally under the building here..."

Formerly located near the Black Church to the north of Parnell Square, the wax museum brand was taken over and relaunched by Dunning as the National Wax Museum Plus, near College Green, back in 2009.

It vacated that property before Christmas, after the Irish Stock Exchange bought the building.

While some of the old 1980s and 1990s-era figures will be on view again on Westmoreland Street, the new attraction couldn’t be further removed from the old northside version of the museum, which was owned by former Fianna Fáil TD and Senator Donie Cassidy.

00002733_2733 A classic from the archives... Bertie v Bertie. 1998.

0826 Wax Museum Plus_90505469 Finishing touches being made today.

0812 Wax Museum Plus_90505466

In addition to the obligatory Chamber of Horrors, there’ll be a music room, an area dedicated to Irish myths and legends and displays dedicated to characters from The Simpsons, along with other fairytale and sci-fi inspired features. Downstairs, it’s planned, there’ll be several history areas covering everything from 1916 to the Good Friday Agreement.

The Cross City Luas – once it’s finished – will pass by outside. It’s planned admission for an adult will be around €15.

Read: Dublin’s Wax Museum to close within two weeks after Stock Exchange court push >

Read: The Northeast US is a slippery mess thanks to Storm Stella >

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