Dublin has a rich literary heritage and is therefore a special place for literature lovers and fans of Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and William Butler Yeats. Here is a list of 7 places you need to visit when in Dublin. It is a mixture of Museums, featured places, and even festivals. There are even culinary delights provided.
Museum of Literature Ireland
The Museum of Literature Ireland is based in the historic UCD Newman House on St. Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin. There are extensive exhibitions, treasures from the National Library of Ireland, and beautiful gardens. The gardens contain the tree where James Joyce had his graduation photo taken.
As well as the new Dedalus Library, which is located in a silent room, equipped with a considerable collection of academic journals and scholarly texts related to the work of James Joyce. After exploring the museum, the Commons Café is your place to enjoy a coffee and something to eat. They offer all-day breakfast, toasties as well as soup, and homemade treats.
The Museum of Literature Ireland is not just a museum, it is an incredible green space that invites you to learn more about the rich heritage of Irish literature.
Photo: @moli_museum on Instagram
Oscar Wilde House
A must-visit for every Oscar Wilde fan is his childhood home located at One Merrion Square, which is the modern-day location of the American College Dublin. You can find there not only the house in which young Oscar Wilde grew up in but also the place where his famous mother Jane Wilde, held her famous weekly salon.
You can choose if you want to explore the house on your own or book a guided tour.
Also, do not miss the opportunity to visit the famous Oscar Wilde Statue in Merrion Square Park, which is just across the street. There you find Oscar Wilde relaxing against a stone.
The Winding Stair
Well, this place my fellow literature lovers, should be on top of your must-see list. The Winding Stair became famous in the 1970s and is named after Yeats’s poem and is a bookshop and restaurant as well.
The Winding Stair Bookshop is one of the oldest independent bookshops in Dublin and offers new books as well as second-hand ones. It is the perfect place to spend hours browsing through the extensive range of books offered. If there is something you can´t find, the friendly and passionate staff will help you or give recommendations if wanted.
The Restaurant opened in 2006 and focuses on seasonal, Irish products. The menu consists of Irish dishes which come with individual wine recommendations, and a beer list focused on local and international microbreweries. The restaurant contains its charm with stripped wooden tables and floors, Bentwood Café chairs, and bookshelves.
Photo: @thewindingstairdublin on Instagram
James Joyce Center
The James Joyce Center is located at Great George’s Street in Dublin 1. It is a museum, an educational charity, and a cultural institution promoting the life, work, and legacy of James Joyce. The Center offers visitors historical and biographical information about James Joyce and his influence on the literary world in the past and present.
The James Joyce Center offers walking tours, exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. Of course, you can just do a casual visit as well.
If you read James Joyce Ulysses you might be familiar with the name Davy Byrnes. After a visit to the Pub in 1904, James Joyce wrote about it in the Lestrygonians Chapter. Leopold Bloom visits Davy Byrnes Pub and orders a Gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy.
Besides the famous Gorgonzola sandwich, the menu offers a delicious selection of soups, traditional Irish dishes to Wagyu Beef Burgers. The drink menu contains mainly a large wine selection, cocktails, and other drinks.
Does not matter if you are a literature lover or not, Davy Byrnes has something for everybody. But for James Joyce fans, Davy Bynres is a must-visit. Especially when you are in Dublin on 16 June, which is Bloomsday.
Photo: @darvy.byrnes on Instagram
Another one of the featured places in Ulysses is Sweny’s Pharmacy, where Leopold Bloom buys lemon-scented soap. To this day Sweny´s is run by volunteers who preserve this special place. Besides second-hand books, the famous lemon soap, and postcards, they offer reading groups, which focus on different texts by James Joyce. These reading groups are even broadcast via Zoom since the pandemic, so you do not even have to be in Dublin to participate.
Swenys is a special place maintained by people who are passionate about what they do. It does not matter if you want to go there to buy something or just to have a look, it will be an experience.
Photo: @swenyspharmacydublin on Instagram
There are also several Literary Festivals in Dublin, which you should not miss. From June 9 to 18 there is the famous Bloomsday Festival, where the great work of James Joyce gets celebrated. Joycean´s songs and poems will be delivered in Saint Andrew´s Church and many more festivities await you.
Another literary festival that needs to be mentioned is the International Literature Festival which takes place from May 19 to 28. There will be more than 170 events at the International Literature Festival, which will turn Merrion Square Park into every literature lover’s paradise, so do not miss out!