Dublin’s literary legacy reaches far and wide – hardly surprising for a city that gave us the legendary James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. Uncover the literary haunts of the city that inspired four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The James Joyce Centre
As one of Dublin's most ground-breaking authors, it seems only natural that a museum was built in Joyce's honour. Find the centre at 35 North Great George’s Street, where the real Professor Denis J Maginni, who appears several times in Ulysses, ran a dance academy.
This idiosyncratic museum celebrates not only the author’s literary output, but his personal life too; the Joyce Study exhibition explores the author’s unusual living arrangements as he flitted between Paris, Trieste and Zurich while working on his great masterpiece. For those interested in the macabre, a replica of Joyce’s death mask is also on show.
F W Sweny & Co Ltd
A must for devotees of Joyce's Ulysses, this 19th-century pharmacy remains as it appeared in the author's time – with the addition of a healthy second-hand book collection. Fans of the epic novel will find that the lemon-fragranced soap, which protagonist Leopold Bloom selected for his wife, Molly, still scents the air. Readings of short stories from the author's Dubliners collection take place every day, and there are weekly readings of Ulysses or Finnegan's Wake.
National Library of Ireland
A bookworm's dream, the National Library of Ireland is home to a vast written record of the country's culture, with historical economic papers, microfilm copies of newspapers, maps and periodicals. The library aims to eventually house a copy of every single book of Irish interest, and it's well on its way. Almost everything is accessible with a Readers Ticket, which visitors can apply for at the front desk.
The Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats exhibition has been in situ since 2006. More than 250,000 people have explored the collection, including the poet’s family tree, described by the Irish Times as “one of the most important literary exhibitions yet staged internationally”.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
Gulliver’s Travels author Jonathan Swift assumed the deanship at St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1713; a position that gave him enough time – 13 years, in fact – to pen his masterpiece. Visitors can view Swift’s grave inside the mediaeval cathedral beside that of Esther Johnson, the subject of at least two of his poems and the woman he was rumoured to have married secretly. His grave is marked by a simple brass plate and an epitaph on the wall, written by the author himself.
Dublin Writers Museum
Dublin Writers Museum contains an eclectic collection, reserved entirely for the work of long-departed writers. As well as first and early editions of classics including Bram Stoker's Dracula and Swift's Gulliver's Travels, there are much more unusual items in the exhibition. Take Samuel Beckett’s telephone, for example, complete with a button for bypassing unwanted calls.
Housed in two Georgian townhouses, just a 25-minute walk from our Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin, the museum holds unseen letters, portraits and personal items belonging to authors including Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh and Brendan Behan. There's an audio tour available in six languages, the celebrated Chapter One restaurant, and a calm garden – the perfect place for a spot of reading.