‘Story of the Irish’ comes to Smithfield

An exhibition charting 10,000 years of Irish history has its official opening next week

Dermot Desmond:  the businessman originally asked Frank Fitzpatrick to mock up the ‘Story of the Irish’ exhibit. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dermot Desmond: the businessman originally asked Frank Fitzpatrick to mock up the ‘Story of the Irish’ exhibit. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Next Thursday is the grand opening of Dublin’s newest tourism and historical attraction.

Story of the Irish is a live theatrical exhibition in Smithfield, Dublin, charting 10,000 years of Irish history up to the modern day.

Frank Fitzpatrick, a former university lecturer and one-time owner of a fashion design business, brought the idea to Dermot Desmond a couple of years ago. Fitzpatrick made a pitch for a walk-through exhibit, illuminated by actors playing historical characters.

“He was my business idol beforehand and is even more so now,” said Fitzpatrick.

Desmond asked him to mock up the exhibit in a warehouse in Finglas. He was apparently impressed, although he did not get financially involved and isn’t an investor in Story of the Irish.

Fitzpatrick does expect him to come along for a visit, though.

The attraction, which has been two years in the making without any capital grants from the State, held a soft opening this month.

Minister for Transport and Tourism Paschal Donohue will officially open it next week.

Fitzpatrick has carried the project through with assistance from Bank of Ireland, but with costs heading for €1.5 million, he has hooked up with a “silent” partner.

“The private investor coming on board [will] help us take the business to the next stage,” he said.

Fitzpatrick reckons Story of the Irish has capacity to accommodate 500,000 visitors each year, which would catapult it straight into the top ten tourist attractions in the country.

Steady on, now.

“Okay, if we were getting 500,000 in three years, I’d be over the moon,” he said, still being optimistic.

Good luck to him.

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