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Museum waxes lyrical about effect of Pope's visit to Ireland

by Press Association

Visitor numbers to the National Wax Museum Plus in the Irish capital have swelled since Pope Francis made his historic visit to the country in August.

National Wax Museum Plus general manager Ed Coleman (pictured above) said everyone wanted a selfie with Pope Francis.

The museum has positioned the life-like waxwork next to the chair from the refurbished 1979 Popemobile.

"You can sit in Pope John Paul II's chair beside Francis or stand beside Pope Francis and get your photograph taken with him," Mr Coleman said.

Just days before the pontiff visited Ireland, the museum unveiled a waxwork of him and the refurbished Popemobile used by John Paul II during his historic visit to Ireland in 1979.

Crowds gathered on O'Connell Street as the Popemobile took to the streets with the waxwork of the popes on board.

"We weren't expecting the reaction that we got from (it)," he said.

Mr Coleman added: "We made so many people's days when we brought Pope Francis out on to the street. So many people were stopping by and getting photos done."

And the pope is not the only major attraction in the museum.

"We have Donald Trump on the other side of the room," he said.

Mr Coleman said the controversial US president was also proving popular with the public.

"Love him or hate him, everyone wants to have their photo taken with him. Some people pose with their thumbs up, some people pose with their thumbs down," he said.

"It sparks emotion and that's what we're trying to do."

He added: "We want people to be immersed in the wax museum. We don't want people to manhandle (the waxworks) but we want people to get up close, put their arm around the wax figure, even give them a kiss."

Mr Coleman described trading during the month of October as "unprecedented".

"We weren't expecting it to be as high as it was," he said.

"We saw a massive spike and we had almost 12,000 visitors in October, up 20% (on last year)... It's the busiest October since the museum opened more than 30 years ago."

Mr Coleman added: "We do attribute a lot of that to the publicity we did around thepope's visit, so we feel very delighted about how it all worked out."

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