Dublin – A City Rich in Literature

Dublin is a city full of treasures. Its cobblestone streets are home to warm welcomes and a rich culture. But above all, Dublin is a literary city. For bookworms, Dublin’s writers will certainly have inspired and enthralled. From Jonathan Swift to Maeve Binchy, Dubliners and books about Dublin have led the way in literature. Visit Dublin to see for yourself why Dublin has been home to so many lovers of the written word.

Dublin’s literary tradition goes back over a thousand years to when monks first began transcribing the bible. The foundation of Trinity College Dublin in 1592 crystallised Dublin’s place as a city for intellectuals. So many great writers and poets have passed through its halls; it’s a must for anyone on the Dublin literary trail.

Ireland’s first internationally recognised writer was Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels. His books are still widely read today. For those with a passion for horror, Bram Stoker, creator of Draculawas also a native. His creation has become one of literatures most enduring and complex monsters.

It was in the late 19th century that Dublin’s most praised and eminent writers began to emerge. Oscar Wilde, famous for his satires of late Victorian life, lived for many years in Merrion Square. George Bernard Shaw was raised at 33 Synge St, which has been fully restored and is now open to the public. Both Wilde and Shaw undoubtedly drew inspiration for their characters from some of the locals. Dublin is a city of characters, and it’s easy to see why so many of Ireland’s writers have such a keen sense of humour.

Opened by WB Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1904, the Abbey Theatre caused a stir almost immediately. John Millington Singe’s play ‘Playboy of the Western World’ almost caused chaos when it was performed. Contrasting with the idealised view of Irish peasants, the play showed they were just as prone to vice as city dwellers. For all its controversy, it certainly helped to revitalise the Irish literary scene.

Of course at this time, Dublin was a troubled city. Fighting fiercely for independence from the United Kingdom, an uprising was brutally put down by British Forces in 1916. The ‘Easter Uprising’ as it became known, was immortalised in a WB Yeats’s poem, ‘Easter 1916’.

However, Dublin’s most famous literary son is perhaps James Joyce. Author of Ulysses andFinnegan’s Wake, Joyce’s works blazed a trail that was to change literature forever. His books are widely regarded as some of the best ever written and much of the clever intricacies of the language he used was inescapably influenced by the city. The James Joyce Centre and Dublin Writers’ Museum detail the great man’s life in more detail.

The list of other Dublin writers is almost endless. Samuel Beckett, Flann O’Brien and Maeve Binchy are just three of the literary luminaries that come from Ireland’s capital. One visit to the city will help to give you a clearer picture why so many great writers have called it home.