Then, in 2011, The Little Museum of Dublin opened, its stories covering some of the same ground as the old Civic Museum. The project seems to have gone from idea to reality in a matter of months. There's a refreshing air of hey-kids-let's-put-the-show-on-right-here that I associate more with pop-up exhibitions - though I'm willing to bet The Little Museum will be around for a while to come.
One of my favourite things about the museum is its setting, in (so far, I believe there are plans to colonise further) two rooms of a Georgian townhouse on St Stephen's Green. There are comfortably over-stuffed armchairs pulled in front of a coffee table beside the fireplace and, yes, you're welcome to sit and read.
The collections are largely two-dimensional: photographs, paintings, menus, letters are framed and arranged around the walls in clusters, by decade.
There are also some groupings of souvenirs, food packaging, small sculptures, coins, memorabilia.
The layout is unashamedly domestic, in the best sense: the salon hang, the use of drawing room furniture to display the collections, the absence of labels (information about everything on display is available in the catalogue, which you can borrow or buy at the reception desk) creates an intimate atmosphere, very appropriate for telling the story of Dublin, which is, after all, a city on an intimate scale.
The museum is open late on Thursdays (this is when we went, a really lovely time to go) and costs €5 (reductions for senior citizens, the unwaged and students, children go free.