Many famous writers have lived in Dublin and on a Dublin literary tour you can see some of their homes, visit the Dublin Writers Museum, the James Joyce Centre, see a statue to Oscar Wilde - and even drink in some of the pubs associated with the city’s many famous writers.
Ireland has such a big literary tradition and has produced four winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, a huge achievement for a small country. Three of the winners - the exception being the 1995 winner Seamus Heaney - came from Dublin: Samuel Beckett (1969), W.B. Yeats (1923) and George Bernard Shaw (1925).
Dublin’s writers include other great names like Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Sean O'Casey, Brendan Behan, J.M. Synge, Oliver Goldsmith, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde, through to modern authors such as Roddy Doyle today. The city is full of literary landmarks.
The best way to begin a Dublin Literary tour is at the Dublin Writers Museum on Parnell Square. Here you’ll get a good background in Dublin's literary heritage. There are manuscripts and mementos, letters and diaries, and books of course, from writers including Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde and all the other great Dublin literary names.
Dublin has two famous theatres, the Gate and the Abbey, and as soon as you have the dates for your visit to Dublin, check their websites to see what's playing and book your tickets. Even if you don't go to see a play, you should at least visit the theatres on your Dublin literary tour.
The Gate Theatre on Cavendish Row was built in 1794 and apart from the many Irish plays and playwrights associated with it, such as Beckett, Shaw and Wilde, it's also where actors including James Mason and Orson Welles first made names for themselves.
The Abbey Theatre on Lower Abbey Street is home to Ireland's National Theatre Company. It dates back to 1904 when it was funded by WB Yeats and Lady Gregory, but sadly the original building burned down in 1951 and was replaced by an unappealing modern structure. It's where JM Synge's The Playboy of the Western World had its first performance, and equally controversial modern Irish dramas still premiere here.
There are plenty of other Dublin literary landmarks to visit, depending on your interests. James Joyce's admirers should head for the James Joyce Centre at 35 North Great George's Street, which features in Joyce's novelUlysses and contains a vast library of Joyce's work along with items like Joyce's guitar and his walking stick. You can also see a statue of Joyce on St Stephen's Green.
At the literary address of 33 Synge Street is the George Bernard Shaw Birthplace, where the rooms have been restored to what they would have been like in 1856 when Shaw was born here.
Oscar Wilde fans will want to see the wonderful statue of their literary hero in the park in Merrion Square, near the Wilde family home at Number 1. W.B. Yeats also lived in this lovely Georgian Dublin square.
These are just some of the highlights any fan of Irish writing will want to see while visiting Dublin, which has rightly been designated a UNESCO City of Literature.
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