EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum based at CHQ in Dublin’s Docklands was honoured to host the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as part of their official visit to Dublin this afternoon. EPIC chronicles the global influence of the Irish in the country’s only fully digital museum. The couple were presented with native Irish flowers by seven year old Maria Dempsey from Laois who wore a blue dress by Irish designer Paul Costello.
Led by Neville Isdell, Founder and Chairman of EPIC and Jessica Traynor, Deputy Museum Director, the visit to EPIC aimed to give the royal couple a deeper understanding of Ireland through the lens of emigration across the arts, sciences, sports and culture. The couple got to uncover stories from the celebrated to the unsung and how Irish emigrants shaped the world, with the focus on what they brought with them, not what they left behind. Their Royal Highnesses walked through the state-of-the-art interactive galleries, complete with touch screens, motion sensor quizzes and a feast of powerful audio and video that bring to life what it means to be Irish.
At the beginning of the tour the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were given EPIC souvenir passports which they enjoyed stamping. In the music gallery, the Duke of Sussex recognised the music of Riverdance immediately and the royal couple also got to listen to early recordings of traditional Irish music on gramophones. Reacting to a quote by Mary Robinson displayed in the museum, the Duchess of Sussex remarked that she admired the former Irish President, whom she had met the previous evening. The Duchess was impressed by the overall design of the museum, and was also delighted to see the work of Irish designer Philip Treacy on view. The Duke of Sussex remarked on Irish creativity and how many artists and musicians have Irish roots. The Duchess commented on the pride people have in Irish heritage.
In the Connections gallery, the Duke and Duchess left a special message on our digital postcard wall:
“Irish people have done so much to shape our world. Thank you for sharing so many moving and inspiring stories. Harry and Meghan”
Neville Isdell, Founder and Chairman of EPIC, says, “One of the driving forces behind founding EPIC was to highlight how important emigration is to Ireland’s history. I’ve always believed that the story of Irish people around the world was one worth telling and it’s a great privilege to share that with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The Irish have long had a close connection with the United Kingdom, particularly in our diaspora community.”
Jessica Traynor, Deputy Museum Director of EPIC, says, “It was an honour to share the story of Irish emigration with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. On the tour we looked at the reasons why the Irish left Ireland over the centuries, and the influence the Irish have had around the world. From our nation’s great writers to the role Irish people played in military conflicts, to the pioneering Irishmen and women in the sciences. The Duke and Duchess enjoyed how interactive the museum is as well as engaging in Irish history and culture.”
EPIC tour summary – The Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Stop 1: Leaving the Island
The first stop on the Duke and Duchess’ tour of EPIC was the transportation sculpture, created by sculptor Ellie McNamara, which shows the vessels on which people would have left the island of Ireland over 1500 years, from a representation of a 5th century currach to contemporary airplanes.
Stop 2: Hunger, Work, and Community
Hunger, Work, and Community looks at the reasons why the Irish left Ireland over the centuries, driven by famine and a lack of opportunity at home, and pulled by offers of land and employment abroad. This gallery also looks at emigrant communication over the years, and contains some poignant letters which capture the emigrant experience in their new countries.
Stop 3: Conflict Gallery
Irish soldiers have fought in many global conflicts, and have performed many peacekeeping missions. Irish regiments are listed on the floor, alongside imagery of war memorials to fallen Irish soldiers from around the world.
Stop 4: Influence Gallery
This gallery looks at the influence Irish people have had around the world, and focuses on a number of seminal events in Irish recent history, including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s State visit to Ireland and the first State visit by an Irish President, President Michael D. Higgins, to the United Kingdom.
Stop 5: Discovering and Inventing
This gallery looks at the achievements of pioneering Irishmen and women emigrants in the fields of science, maths, astronomy, engineering and manufacture.
Stop 6: Storytelling
EPIC’s interactive library tells the story of Irish Nobel prize winners and bestsellers. The interactive storytelling book tells the story of Irish writing.
Stop 7: Connections Gallery
This gallery reflects on modern means of communication between emigrants and their loved ones back home. Guests will be able to use their EPIC passports to create a message that will be displayed on the digital wall display. EPIC also houses a state-of-the-art genealogy centre, the Irish Family History Centre, helping visitors uncover their Irish ancestry.