St Patrick’s Day paraphernalia amnesty an Epic move

Cantillon: Irish museum’s campaign seeks to turn ‘shamroguery’ into deeper Irish pride

Temple Bar poster for Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum, where tourist tat can be recycled into tickets.

Temple Bar poster for Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum, where tourist tat can be recycled into tickets.

 

What, if anything, does it mean to be Irish? The St Patrick’s Festival, which begins on Thursday, hasn’t necessarily provided any greater insight no matter how many days are added to the official celebrations.

Indeed, with so many people prepared to make queasy links between Irishness and the results of dodgy DNA tests, it can sometimes feel like even asking the question is opening one big green Pandora’s box.

Kudos then to Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum based in Dublin’s Custom House Quay, for finding a way to market itself that doesn’t either perpetuate or ignore the annual explosion of novelty green paraphernalia on the streets, but consciously takes it as a starting point for why people should be proud of Ireland.

The campaign – “There’s More to Ireland Than…” – devised for Epic by the creative agency Public House invites visitors to the museum to trade in their giant hats, leprechaun beards, Tricolour boas, shamrock glasses and sparkly headgear between “#StPlasticsDay” (March 17th) and March 20th in exchange for free entry. Hilariously, this offer is termed an “amnesty”.

Plastic Paddies

“This is about showing people that as well as the craic, the pints and the shamroguery, there’s more to Ireland and the Irish,” says Epic’s appropriately named managing and museum director Mervyn Greene. “Ireland has given far more to the world than stereotypes.”

As a piece of marketing, it taps into the aversion of people who would gladly stamp on a leprechaun hat if they saw one. But it’s also something of a gauntlet to members of the Irish diaspora sometimes known pejoratively (and unbeknown to them) as “plastic Paddies”, challenging them to learn more about the contribution to the world of the island with which they identify.

That can only be a good thing. And, hey, no one’s saying they can’t force their way into Temple Bar for a pint when they’re done.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.