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DUBLINUNESCOCity of Literature

Submission by the City of Dublin, Ireland

October 2009

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Sarah Bannan, Head of Literature, The Arts Council/An Chomhairle


Deirdre Ellis-King, Dublin City Librarian (Chair)

Alan Hayes, President, Publishing Ireland

Joe Woods, Director, Poetry Ireland

Point Person:

Jane Alger,

Divisional Librarian,

Dublin City Libraries,

138-144 Pearse Street,

Dublin 2

Email: [emailprotected]



Robin Adams, Librarian, Trinity College Dublin

Aideen Brady, President, Booksellers’ Association, Irish Branch

Mary Cloake, Director, The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon

Eugene Downes, Chief Executive, Culture Ireland

Jack Gilligan, Dublin City Arts Offi cer

Jack Harte, Writer, Chairman, Irish Writers’ Centre

Samantha Holman, Executive Director, Irish Copyright Licensing


Sam Johnston, Leisure Tourism Manager, Dublin Tourism

Madeleine Keane, Literary Editor, Sunday Independent

Laurence Kelly, Principal Offi cer, Department of Environment,

Heritage & Local Government

Sinéad Mac Aodha, Director, Ireland Literature Exchange

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4�David McKenna, Executive Producer, RTÉ (National Broadcaster)

Aongus Ó hAonghusa, Director, National Library of Ireland

Declan Meade, Editor, Publisher

Éilis Ní Dhuibhne, Bilingual Adult & Children’s Author, Playwright

& Critic

Niall Ó Donnchú, Assistant Secretary, Arts & Cultural Unit,

Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism

Imelda Rey, Arts & Culture Manager, Fáilte Ireland (National Tourism


James Ryan, Novelist, Lecturer School of English, Drama & Film,

University College Dublin

Gerry Smyth, Poet, Critic, Managing Editor, The Irish Times

Colm Tóibín, Writer, Critic, (Member of The Arts Council)

Sally Anne Tye, Director of Public Affairs, Abbey Theatre

Mags Walsh, Director, Children’s Books Ireland

Bert Wright, Administrator, Irish Book Awards

Submitted to UNESCO by the City of Dublin, October 2009.

Application written by Dr Eibhlin Evans,

edited by Jane Alger & Alastair Smeaton with

contributions by Deirdre Ellis-King & Alan Hayes.

Design by Yellowstone Communications Design

ISBN: 978 1 907002007

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Executive Summary 9

Dublin City: the place, the population, the past, the present 15

Government 23

Economy 23

Creative City 24

Cultural Tourism 24

Living in Dublin 26

Dublin: A Context for Literature 29

The Literary Heritage 34

The Linguistic Heritage 41

Commitment to Literature 44

Publishing in Dublin 46

Libraries & Archives 48

Literary Centres & Organisations 52

Literary Awards 54

Literary Festivals & Events 58

Literature & Education 62

Dublin Booksellers 68

Media 69

Honouring Literature 71

Conclusion 73

Dublin: Th e Cultural City 75

Cultural Centres 78

Cultural Festivals & Events 79

Museums 82

Art Galleries 84

Theatre 86

Music 89

Cinema 91

Conclusion 92

Dublin: City of Literature 95

Appendices: 101

Appendix 1 103

Artistic & Creative Community 103

Appendix 2 104

Literature Support 104


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Appendix 3 105

Cultural Events & Festivals; Literary Attractions; Literary Tourism 105

Appendix 4 107

The Literary Industry 107

Appendix 5 112

Libraries, Archives, Museums & Galleries 112

Appendix 6 113

Awards 113

Appendix 7 114

Literature-related Courses & Programmes; Educational/Cultural Institutions 114

Appendix 8 116

Theatres & Performance Venues 116

Acknowledgements 117


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DUBLINUNESCOCity of Literature

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D ublin, the capital city of Ireland, an island on the edge of

western Europe, is situated on the River Liffey at the centre

of the Greater Dublin Region. The region has a population of

1.66m, half a million of whom live in the city. Dublin’s fi ne Georgian

architecture, literary history and lively social scene, together with its

libraries, its world-renowned theatres and musical culture contribute

to its ranking in the top 20% of world capitals in terms of quality of

life. The city was recently voted into fourth place in the world’s top 10

literary destinations and it engages citizens and visitors alike, encour-

aging them to participate in, and contribute to, its unique cultural


Through its great novelists, poets, and dramatists, Dublin’s diaspora

has exerted an unparalleled infl uence on the world at large, providing

a unique cultural experience with literature at its heart – and in the

process, spreading the city’s literary infl uence to the four corners of

the world.


Dublin City Council, the democratically elected body which governs the

city, aims to ensure that Dublin is at the centre of a creative economic

region – one which will continue to attract, retain and develop creative

talent, harnessing all of its assets and capabilities. Dublin is a cultur-

ally rich, vibrant and tolerant city where diversity is acknowledged

and celebrated and where new communities, represented by over

100 nationalities, form 15% of its population. Literature in particular

is developing as a force for cultural inclusivity, giving voice to those

new communities – and bringing new energy and ideas to the life of

the city.

Dublin is synonymous with Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde, as well as

James Joyce, one of the most infl uential and innovative writers in the

English language. Four Nobel Prizes for Literature have been awarded

to writers associated with Dublin – playwright George Bernard Shaw,

poets W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, and the multi-faceted Samuel

Beckett. Poetry is very much a living part of the city – and Poetry

Ireland, the national organisation for poetry, seeks to promote access

and excellence by embracing and fostering poetry and language as

tools for living.

The city is home to the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary

Award, won by Dublin resident Colm Tóibín in 2006. The Man Booker

prize has been won by Anne Enright (2007), John Banville (2005),

Roddy Doyle (1993) and Iris Murdoch (1978). Sebastian Barry, short-

listed for the Man Booker and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, was

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10�the featured author for the second Dublin: One City, One Book initia-

tive in 2007 and was the winner of the 2009 Costa Award. Maeve

Binchy, Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor, John Connolly, Marian Keyes,

Cecelia Ahern, Deirdre Purcell, among others, are widely read and

enjoy enormous international popularity.

The city’s universities; its vibrant book and publishing trade; its thriving

contemporary literary scene; its libraries and its cultural, arts and social

scene create a powerful image of Dublin as a place with literature at

its core, and with cultural connectivity at every level. As befi ts the

capital city of Ireland, Dublin is home to many of the national cultural

institutions, including the National Library, National Gallery, the Abbey

(National Theatre), the Dublin Writers’ Museum, Chester Beatty

Library, Trinity College and the National Concert Hall.

Literature is in the fabric of Dublin, in its river – Joyce’s Anna Livia,

in its conversation and its very cobblestones. Three of the city’s

newest river bridges are named after literary giants – James Joyce,

Sean O’Casey and Samuel Beckett. No other city in the world boasts

such an all-pervading sense of literary heritage and creative impetus

– supported by bursaries and a benevolent national tax regime, which

enables artists and writers resident in Ireland to avail of exemptions on

income derived from their creative work.

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11�Those whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in

Ireland are honoured by membership of Aosdána, a body set up by the

Arts Council, refl ecting the innate value the state places on the role of

the creative artist in contemporary society. Aosdána encourages and

assists its members to devote themselves to their art by providing an

annuity for up to fi ve years. The print and broadcast media actively

promote Dublin’s literary and cultural life by hosting events and discus-

sions, publicising activities, sponsoring literary prizes and supporting

new and established writing.

Internationally, Irish literature written in English and Irish is in constant

demand. For many decades, books by Irish writers have been sold

throughout the world in rights sales, in co-editions with foreign

publishers and in translations. Irish publishers also buy the rights to

foreign titles; for example, the Irish language publisher An Gúm has

translated over 1,000 classic and popular titles from many languages.

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Franco-Irish

Literary Festival and the Spanish-Irish Literary Festival are but three

of the ways in which international literature is showcased in the city

and the region. The IMPAC Dublin Award, the world’s richest prize for

fi ction, administered by the city council’s library service, allocates 25%

of its €100,000 prize money to the translator of a winning entry fi rst

written in a language other than English. The award attracts entries

from over 150 cities worldwide and is now entering its fi fteenth year.

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As a result of colonial infl uences, the Irish language was subordinated

to English for centuries, but, since the early 20th century, it has been

undergoing a revival – particularly in Dublin – and this is refl ected in

the level of literary activity in the native language. An Gúm (meaning

The Plan), established by the state in 1926, has published over 2,500

titles, while another state initiative, Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge (translated

as ‘Programme for Irish Language Books’), originally founded in 1952,

fosters publishing in Irish, through the provision of grants and support

for the industry. Both these initiatives remain fully active, under the

aegis of Foras na Gaeilge, the all-Ireland body, with headquarters in

Dublin, which promotes the language. Dublin’s annual Irish language

literary festival, IMRAM, (in early Irish literature, a story about an

adventurous voyage) reveals a rich diversity of events that blends

poetry, prose and music in lively, upbeat venues.


The success of events such as the Dublin Writers’ Festival and the

Dublin Book Festival demonstrates the importance and vitality of inter-

national literature in Dublin. The achievement of these high-profi le

activities, in literary and audience terms, has encouraged the develop-

ment of a number of other inter-cultural literary festivals and events,

including regular programmes showcasing international literature.

Multi-cultural festivals and events form a vibrant and central part of

artistic life in the city. The Dublin Theatre Festival is one of the longest

running theatre festivals in Europe, while the recently established

Dublin: One City, One Book project involves both citizens and visitors

each spring in celebrating a book with Dublin associations.

Bloomsday, June 16th is the day in 1904 during which all the action of

James Joyce’s novel Ulysses takes place. It is celebrated every year all

over the world. In Dublin, where the novel is set, Bloomsday celebra-

tions go on for a week. Traditionally, Joyceans in Edwardian costume

visit the locations of the book and take part in readings, walks and

activities of all sorts which in some way connect with Ulysses, its

author and its world.


Literature is an integral part of the school curriculum at primary and

second-level, refl ecting both literary heritage and contemporary

writing. Teachers and librarians work together encouraging children to

enjoy books for leisure and learning while the annual Children’s Book

Festival sees thousands of children participate in reading events nation-

ally. Dublin’s major third level institutions refl ect the city’s obsession

with literature and writing in the range of courses offered - including

undergraduate, postgraduate and access courses for the interested


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All aspects of the literary industry are represented and supported in

Dublin. The city boasts an active publishing trade with an interna-

tional reputation. As well as indigenous publishers, many international

publishers have set up subsidiaries in Dublin adding to the vibrancy

of the literary publishing sector and underlining the importance of the

Irish book market in an international context. The market for book sales

in Dublin alone is worth an estimated €60m a year and the number of

bookshops and antiquarian booksellers in the city indicates the contin-

uing interest of Dubliners in books and reading.


Cultural tourism is a vital component of the Dublin economy and

contributes in a unique and dynamic way to the city’s cultural mix. 5.6m

visitors came to Dublin in 2008, many of whom were attracted by the

city’s unique literary image, contributing €1.7bn to the local economy.

Tourism is an important employer in the Dublin area employing 22%

of the national industry total. Indeed, civic planners now recognise the

value of driving growth through a creative economy, generating both

employment and entrepreneurial activity.


Addressing the process of becoming a UNESCO City of Literature,

part of the International Creative Cities Network, has bound together

initially disparate groups and organisations with the common purpose

of enhancing Dublin’s status as a pre-eminent city of cultural diver-

sity. Recognising the unique ability of literature to transcend cultural

differences, Dublin will, through a number of key initiatives, use the

anticipated City of Literature designation to reach out both internally,

nationally and internationally. For example: engaging with other literary

cities, both within and beyond the creative cities network, through

an active programme of mentoring and cultural exchanges; maxim-

ising the UNESCO Creative Cities brand by using the power of the

existing International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award network, the

Citieslinked website, the Creative D project and the European Capital

of Science designation; continuing to develop Dublin’s cultural infra-

structure; developing its Creative Alliance as a driving force for the

city’s economy; building and strengthening partnerships in the literary

and cultural tourism sectors.

Designation as a UNESCO City of Literature will afford international

endorsem*nt of Dublin as a creative city, eager to partake in connec-

tions with other cities and communities where vibrant cultural climates


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“ Away a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun,

past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to

bend of bay ……………………”

Finnegans Wake

– James Joyce

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D ublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland and straddles the

River Liffey. The city is situated on the east coast, bordered

by the Irish Sea, which separates Ireland from Great Britain.

The Dublin and Wicklow Mountains lie to the south of the city with

the plains of County Meath and County Kildare to the north and west

respectively. Extremes of temperature are rare, although rainfall is


Dublin is renowned as an historic city, boasting fi ne examples of

Georgian streets and squares as well as some impressive Victorian

structures. It is easy to see why Dublin was once known as the second

city of the British Empire and the colonial legacy is clearly evident in

the public buildings which dominate its centre.

More recently, the economic boom of the late 1990s, popularly

dubbed ‘The Celtic Tiger’, has led to the addition of many innovative

modern buildings and developments, such as the new international

conference centre and fi nancial quarter along the north-eastern banks

of the River Liffey. Dublin remains low-rise with few buildings over ten

storeys high and unlike many modern cities, the city centre retains a

high proportion of residential property alongside its public, retail and

commercial buildings, where work, trade and culture intersect.

The city’s architecture offers a range of urban experiences ranging

from the contemporary to the grandeur of its wide boulevards and

impressive Georgian squares and the more intimate cobbled streets

and lanes of the Temple Bar cultural quarter - a city centre riverside

area rejuvenated when Dublin was European Capital of Culture in 1991.

Dublin also boasts an abundance of green spaces, parks and gardens,

many of which feature literary monuments. The largest enclosed urban

park in Europe, the Phoenix Park, with an area of 700ha (1700 acres)

ringed by a wall measuring 11km (7 miles), and containing the Zoolog-

ical Gardens, is within walking distance of the city centre. The city’s

varied built environment, together with its increasingly cosmopolitan

population, contributes to its urban charm and vibrant atmosphere.

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T he city is at the centre of the Dublin region which includes the

local authority areas of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal and

South Dublin. Dublin city has a population of over 500,000,

while the greater Dublin area is home to 1.66m people.

Since the 1990s the city demographic has changed beyond recognition

with new communities now representing 15% of the city’s population.

Over 100 nationalities share its economic and cultural life and Govern-

ment agencies and departments have made great efforts to promote

the integration of these diverse communities. Literature in particular

is rapidly becoming an inclusive and integrating force, allowing people

from different socio-cultural backgrounds to bring new perspectives,

new ideas and new energy to the life of the city.

“ Over 100 nationalities share its

economic and cultural life.”

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R ecords show that the area around Dublin has been inhabited

since early pre-history. The city’s Irish language name, Baile

Átha Cliath, meaning ‘the ford over the hurdles’, refers to

a settlement at a busy crossing of the River Liffey. Another settle-

ment, Dubh Linn, named after a dark pool by the Liffey, developed

on the south side and by the 7th century A.D. had become an impor-

tant monastic centre. When the Vikings also settled in the area in the

9th century, Dublin or Dubh Linn began to merge into a single entity.

Over the following 200 years, the Vikings became largely integrated

with the native community, setting a pattern that would be repeated

over the following centuries as the city continued to be invaded and

colonised. The Viking power base was eventually destroyed following

their defeat at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The Normans, under King

Henry II of England, were the next successful invaders in 1169. This

Anglo-Norman alliance left a permanent legacy of fortifi ed buildings

and watchtowers, together with a system of administration which

still underpins much of Dublin’s modern government. During the

reign of Elizabeth I (1533–1603), the English colonisation of the island

proceeded in earnest. When later, King William II defeated his Catholic

rival James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, a period of systematic

repression of Catholics began.

‘Fort of the Dane,

Garrison of the Saxon,

Augustan capital

Of a Gaelic nation,

Appropriating all

The alien brought……….,’

‘Dublin’ by Louis McNeice

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20�By the 18th century the city was dominated by the Protestant aris-

tocracy and benefi ted from signifi cant development. Many Anglo-Irish

lords owned, but neglected, large estates throughout the country.

However, in Dublin they built ostentatious houses and set out the now

famous Georgian squares. Leinster House, today the seat of the Dáil,

(the Irish Parliament), is an example. The Custom House, the Four

Courts and the National Botanic Gardens were also built at this time.

Wealthy Dublin residents patronised the arts and the Royal Dublin

Society was founded in 1731 to promote science, the arts and agricul-

ture. Ireland’s most famous business was established in 1759 when

Arthur Guinness opened his brewery at St James’ Gate.

Dublin witnessed failed rebellions against British rule in 1798 and again

in 1803. In the decades that followed, mass public support for the

Catholic leader Daniel O’Connell emerged and ‘The Liberator’, as he

was called, eventually succeeded in achieving emancipation for Catho-

lics in 1829. O’Connell became the fi rst modern Catholic Lord Mayor

of Dublin in 1841 – and the city’s recently restored central boulevard

continues to bear his name.

The Great Famine of 1845–51 was one of the most catastrophic

periods in Ireland’s history. The failure of the potato crop, on which

most of the native population depended for sustenance, resulted in

the country’s population falling by 1.5m through death and emigration.

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21�Hordes of starving people fl ocked to Dublin and the city was the scene

of much hardship; food riots and street fi ghting were common and

countless numbers died of hunger.

Many new nationalist movements developed in the decades following

the Great Famine and progress towards the resurrection of a Dublin-

based parliament gathered pace in the 1880s under C. S. Parnell, ‘the

uncrowned king of Ireland.’ Stark poverty increased and by the turn

of the 20th century, Dublin was home to some of the worst slums

in Europe. The fi ne 18th century Georgian houses declined into tene-

ments where overcrowding, poor sanitation and disease were rife.

An armed revolt against British rule began at Easter 1916. A week of

intense fi ghting left much of the city centre destroyed or damaged.

The leaders of the rebellion, many of whom were poets and cultural

activists, were summarily executed by the British authorities, thus

provoking a radical change in public opinion, turning it against British

rule. The subsequent War of Independence ended with the signing of

the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921; this established the Irish Free State and

Northern Ireland as two separate entities. Opinion was divided on the

treaty however, and this led to a civil war with Dublin once again at the

centre of some of its bloodiest battles. O’Connell Street was heavily

shelled and much of the city centre suffered until 1923 when a truce

was signed and all parties began the process of building a new state.

Throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s the Irish Free State struggled to

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22�deal with the inherited problems of poverty, urban decay and depri-

vation. In the 1960s Dublin’s fortunes began to change and the city

experienced periods of expansion, which saw many new industries

established and housing developments gradually reaching into the

city’s hinterland.

The pace of development slowed during the recession of the 1980s

and the city lost much of its talented work force to emigration. A

reversal of this trend began in 1991 when Dublin was named Euro-

pean Capital of Culture, beginning an intense programme of city centre

rejuvenation. This was followed by an economic boom which brought

huge improvements to the city – increased trade, investment and the

addition of new housing on an unprecedented scale.

Local and national government fostered initiatives that helped the

cultural life of the city with increased funding and provision for all the

arts. Many Irish people who had emigrated in the 70s and 80s returned

– and the city welcomed the talent and experience they brought.

“ Dublin City Council also aims to ensure that the

city is at the centre of a creative economic region.”

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The city of Dublin is the seat of national government or Oireachtas

(Parliament), comprising Dáil Éireann (the House of Representatives)

and Seanad Éireann (the Senate). The appropriate resource, policy and

legislative framework for culture is provided by the Department of Arts,

Sport and Tourism. The Department of the Environment, Heritage

and Local Government determines policy for public libraries and has

responsibility for the Heritage Council and the environment in which

Irish people live. A council of national cultural institutions provides a

forum where experience, expertise, talent and vision is pooled thus

furthering the national cultural interest. Working co-operatively, this

council provides information and policy recommendations on cultural

matters to the relevant government minister.

The city itself is governed by a democratically elected body – Dublin

City Council. Headed by an annually-elected Lord Mayor, the council is

the largest local authority in the country with a staff of approximately

6,700. Besides its obligations with regard to housing, infrastructure

and local services, the city council also provides over 200 different

services to citizens and businesses in the capital, including public

libraries, city archives, an art gallery and arts offi ce.

Dublin City Council aims to ensure that the city is at the centre of a

creative economic region, attracting, retaining and developing creative

talent – and harnessing the city’s cultural assets and capabilities. The

council is committed to fostering a culturally rich city where diversity

is acknowledged and celebrated.


Until late 2008, Dublin’s economy had been one of the fastest-growing

in Europe. Despite global recession, the city remains upbeat and is a

centre for trade, innovation, education and tourism, connected globally

through a network of fi nancial, cultural and technological linkages.

Employment in the region is split between service industries and

manufacturing, with approximately 80% of the workforce engaged in

the former and 20% the latter. Starting in the 1990s Dublin’s economy

saw signifi cant growth. The city benefi ted from wide-ranging Govern-

ment and private investment, as well as international and multi-national

corporations, particularly in fi nancial services, information technology

and tourism-related activities.

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24�The Irish Stock Exchange and the headquarters of Ireland’s leading

banks and insurance companies are located in Dublin – the fi nancial

capital of Ireland. The establishment of the International Financial

Services Centre in Dublin’s redeveloped docklands area has attracted

many international banks and fi nance houses which employ upwards

of 30,000 people.


Both national government and Dublin City Council recognise the

importance of strategies and forward plans which do not rely on

traditional industry, but instead target the development of alternative

assets. With this realisation, creativity has been acknowledged as a

vital resource in Dublin and the city is committed to developing this as

a key element in economic policy.

Dublin’s economic action plan also recognises the importance of a

vision and a brand for the city, one that exploits its heritage, current

skills, location, environment, resources and talent – all that the city

does best. At the centre of this economic vision is the aim of high-

lighting Dublin as a creative city where the arts, and especially the

literary arts, are crucial.

The city council’s innovative strategies have been major factors

in growing and shaping Dublin’s economy, especially in the current

climate where traditional industries and fi nancial services cease to be

the major generators of economic well-being.

The recently established Creative Dublin Alliance, a collaboration

between Dublin’s university, business and local government leaders,

is also developing a shared vision for Dublin in order to progress a new

level of innovation and creativity for the city.


Cultural tourism is a vital component of Dublin’s economy, employing

27% of the national total of 322,000 workers within the tourism

industry. A total of 5.6m visitors came to Dublin in 2008, contributing

€1.7bn to the local economy – the total national income generated

from cultural tourism for Ireland in the same year was just over €2bn.

Research shows that cultural tourism accounts for 33% of all visitors

to Ireland and that culture-related visitors spend on average 25% more

than other visitors. Figures also show that in 2008, 3m people visited

the national cultural institutions, most of which are located in Dublin.

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25�The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism recently restated his commit-

ment to the development of cultural tourism and announced a series of

initiatives which will allow this sector to develop further in 2009/2010.

These included the setting up of a body composed of the heads of

arts, sports and tourism groups, together with the leaders of national

cultural institutions which will draw up an action plan specifi cally

designed for tourism. Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism organisa-

tion, has also set up a group to concentrate specifi cally on promoting

literary tourism.

Dublin is a city at the heart of a coherent region, where economic

development is informed by coordinated regional strategies. However,

the nature of the global economy and the role and structure of cities’

economic development are now undergoing profound change. In such

a climate, initiatives involving cultural tourism and creative industries

have taken on a new importance and Dublin’s planners are alert to

the need to expand and to prioritise these areas. An awareness of

the contribution of creative and cultural industries to the economic

success of the city is outlined in the Draft Economic Strategy for

Dublin (2009).

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Dublin’s fi ne Georgian architecture, literary history and cosmopolitan

social scene, together with its lively theatre and music culture make

the city a very special place in which to live. Together with a highly

regarded education system, good housing provision and freely avail-

able social and sport facilities, it is not surprising that the quality of life

for its citizens is highly rated.

A variety of transport options are available within the city and the

greater Dublin area and international destinations are easily accessible

by air and sea. Retail opportunities abound in the city centre and the

surrounding area, with many international chains now part of the land-

scape. Top class sporting events, including rugby and soccer, Gaelic

games, horse-racing, show jumping, golf and other competitions are

major attractions in the city’s calendar.

An impressive variety of cultural festivals celebrates all of the arts

in Dublin. Music and fi lm festivals occur all year round. The Dublin

Theatre Festival, which attracts productions from all corners of the

world, the Dublin Writers’ Festival, the Jameson Dublin International

Film Festival and the Dublin Fringe Festival are but a few of the world-

class cultural events offered by the city.

Dublin’s art galleries are high-value features of the cultural landscape.

The National Gallery hosts special exhibitions of international works as

well as displaying many fi ne examples of Irish art. Dublin City Gallery

the Hugh Lane houses a fi ne collection of impressionist and modern

art while the Irish Museum of Modern Art mounts major exhibitions of

contemporary international artists’ work.

From traditional Irish and classical music to the latest in garage, hip hop

and rap, Dublin has a musically diverse range of clubs, venues, asso-

ciations, classes and festivals where these genres – and everything

in between – are celebrated. The city has a strong history of musical

talent and appreciation and its pubs are world famous for the quality

of their music, as much as their hospitality. The streets of Dublin’s

city centre echo with the sound of buskers refl ecting the city’s multi-

cultural profi le in the range of music offered.

“ Dublin, for many of its inhabitants, is more than a city –

much more than a modern and anonymous metropolis.”

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27�Dublin, for many of its inhabitants, is more than a city – much more than

a modern and anonymous metropolis. People have a relationship with

this city – a fl uctuating one, perhaps, but one strongly felt by most, not

least due to its intimacy. Dublin is still, in an important sense, know-

able. While a great deal of development, rejuvenation and change has

occurred in the last twenty years, this has been coordinated by a city

planning policy that invests in the creation of clusters, small areas of

distinct identity yet connected to their neighbouring districts, where a

sense of distinctiveness and integration exist simultaneously.

Dublin is famously a city of talk and connection. It is a place of

continual conversation, where debates are public, issues are vibrant

and on-going dialogue is part of the experience of living. This aspect

of the city is central to its cultural life and connects with literary activi-

ties in an important way. The sense of connection includes writers

in its orbit – and strong communities of poets, playwrights, novelists

and readers meet regularly at the numerous events which take place

within the city.

Dublin’s open and intimate spaces, its historic and modern buildings,

diverse cultural life and integrated cosmopolitan population combine

to make the city a fascinating place in which to live, casting a magical

spell on all who appreciate its unique charms.

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“ A mile away the river toils

Its buttressed fathoms out to sea;”

Baggot Street Deserta

– Thomas Kinsella

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T he capital city has seen many political masters over the centu-

ries and has witnessed riots, revolutions and repressions.

These events are inscribed in its architecture as much as in

its writing. However, they do not exist at the level of history alone

but continue in an embrace between past and present through that

writing. Dublin’s rich literary inheritance affects the present populace,

their lives, speech, sense of self and their evident pride in their city

and its heritage. The Dublin literary sensibility is one where pathos

and comedy, high tragedy and low farce are effortlessly combined.

Labelled variously as the ‘second city of the Empire’, ‘Strumpet City’

and ‘Joycetown’, Dublin is also known as the city of talk, where good

nature and sharp comment, delight and cynicism go hand in hand.

Dublin is a tale, a story, a legend, a dialogue – it is itself a conversa-

tion, ongoing, inclusive and invigorating with literature as an essential

element of its composition. Literature is a major contributor to the

city’s cultural, social, intellectual and economic life and continually

enriches the experiences of visitors and inhabitants alike.

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney has commented in support of Dublin’s


"It seems to me that Dublin, in the cultural imagination of the

world, is already a City of Literature. The historical record is

resonant with the names of Swift, Joyce, Yeats, O’Casey and

Beckett, but the claim to the title can rest equally on present

conditions and achievements. The city is still the home of

extraordinarily gifted writers who give credibility and glamour

to the many literary festivals and literary prizes which are a

feature of the civic life; theatres like the Abbey and the Gate

which have been legendary continue to attract living audiences

for classic and contemporary plays; and most important of all,

the pride in all this ongoing literary energy and achievement

is shared not just by the intelligentsia but by the population at


Dublin’s chief credentials as a City of Literature lie in the historical

body of work that has come from its writers over the centuries and

from the equally acclaimed contemporary output of writers native

to, or living within the city’s confi nes. At the same time, a far-fl ung

diaspora has carried Irish and Dublin literary culture abroad. Writers

such as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Lafcadio Hearn have made

an indelible mark on world literature. Bloomsday, honouring Joyce, is

celebrated in such diverse locations as St. Petersburg and Melbourne,

while Hearn is feted in Japan to this day. Contemporary writers like

Thomas Kinsella and Edna O’Brien continue the process, while around

the world’s universities, Dublin-educated academics also spread the

infl uence of the city’s unique literary heritage.

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32�Other evidence of those credentials exists within the cultural profi le of

the city. Publishing in Dublin is a thriving industry; education at every

level embraces and encourages literary activity. There is a constant

round of events and festivals – while the media endorses and supports

literary culture in all its aspects.

All of these are concrete elements of the city’s literary culture and

bear witness to the high level of engagement with literature in the

capital. What is more diffi cult to relate is the literary sensibility that

Dublin people possess – one that constantly engages with the world

through a literary lens – a prism of past and present literary works. This

sensibility is fed in turn by the literary culture that fl ourishes within

the city – where people are not just passive readers for whom the

act of reading remains purely personal and private. Dubliners’ reading

experiences continue to resound and echo, frequently gracing their

verbal responses to the daily round of life. It is not unusual to hear a

passenger on a Dublin bus quoting a few apt lines of poetry or prose in

the course of conversation on contemporary issues – or to fi nd stran-

gers engaged in a debate on the relative merits of several writers.

While Dublin tourist guides attempt to coach visitors in the pronuncia-

tion of the eponymous Dublin greeting, ‘howaya?’ the equally common

accompaniment to this – the enquiry, ‘what’s the story?’ reveals the

remnants of an oral tradition which is alive and well, while also demon-

strating Dubliners’ appetite for the world of books.

Ever eager for stories of themselves and others, Dubliners’ sensitivity

to literary matters is acute, reinforced by an awareness of the works

of the past as much as it is attuned to contemporary offerings – news

of which is spread through the media, and through frequent readings,

discussions and debates hosted by publishers, universities, libraries,

literary organisations, book shops, pubs and cafes. The appreciation

of writing and the richness of all its forms and genres is something

that Dubliners display as a matter of course. Literary awareness is a

form of currency in the capital, a bonding agent where pride is evident.

Scepticism too fosters the famous ‘license with the Queen’s English’,

for which the Irish are noted.

Writers in Dublin are not remote fi gures, out of step with the thrust of

21st century life but are part of the everyday landscape, much valued

by Dubliners. The city has offi cially recognised writers by such diverse

means as the conferring of the Freedom of the City, (George Bernard

Shaw, Douglas Hyde and most recently, Thomas Kinsella) and through

the Lord Mayor’s Awards, which in 2009 honoured the writer Sebas-

tian Barry. Further underlining the city’s literary credentials, the Man

Booker International Prize was presented in Dublin for the fi rst time in

June 2009.

No fewer than four Nobel Prizes for Literature have been awarded to

writers associated with the city: George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats,

Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. Other illustrious Dublin writers

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33�of international repute include Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Sean

O’Casey, Denis Johnston, Flann O’Brien, Brendan Behan and Jennifer


In more recent times, Dublin-based writers continue to receive interna-

tional acclaim in fi ction, drama and poetry. The Man Booker Prize has

been conferred on Iris Murdoch, Roddy Doyle, John Banville and Anne

Enright, and in 2009 Sebastian Barry received the Costa Book of the

Year Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction. Colum

McCann was recently nominated for the fi ction prize in the 2009 U.S.

National Book Awards. The novelist Anne Enright, has claimed that ‘In

other towns, clever people go out and make money. In Dublin, clever

people go home and write their books.’

Dublin is home to the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary

Award which was won by Dublin-based writer Colm Tóibín in 2006.

Many other Dublin writers, in all genres of literature, enjoy enor-

mous international popularity with their works translated into a host

of languages: playwrights Dermot Bolger, Frank McGuinness, Conor

McPherson, Marina Carr and Martin McDonagh; poets Eavan Boland,

Paula Meehan, Peter Sirr, Pat Boran, Michael O’Loughlin, Paul Durcan

and others too numerous to list. Excelling in the genre of popular fi ction

are novelists Maeve Binchy, John Connolly, Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly,

Patricia Scanlan and Cecilia Ahern, while literary fi ction is the preserve

of highly successful writers such as Sebastian Barry, Colum McCann,

Sebastian Barry

Patricia Scanlan

Paula Meehan

Cecilia Ahern

Roddy Doyle

John Banville

Maeve Binchy

Joseph O'Connor

Pat Boran

© co


ht S


anie Jo


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34�Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Joseph O’Connor, Hugo Hamilton, John

Banville and Claire Kilroy. Children’s literature is a thriving area where

again, Dublin writers and illustrators have achieved international repu-

tations – for example Derek Landy, Conor Kostick, Siobhán Parkinson,

Marita Conlon-McKenna and P. J. Lynch. Dublin writers also distinguish

themselves across the whole range of non-fi ction writing and include

author and literary critic Declan Kiberd, art historian Anne Crookshank

and historian Peter Harbison.

Dublin is confi dent that this relationship with literature can be shared

with other creative cities within the UNESCO network through a variety

of initiatives. The UNESCO City of Literature designation will bring

Dublin city’s unique literary life to the attention of others, extending

and enhancing its many established international connections. It is

also anticipated that the designation will promote the city’s consid-

erable reputation as a key player on the international literary stage,

attracting an even wider audience to share its many literary events,

festivals, projects and ambitions.


Ireland has consistently produced major literary fi gures whose

achievements, across all literary genres, have been highly acclaimed.

It is an irony often cited by scholars and academics that a great deal of

the canon of ‘English’ literature was produced by Anglo-Irish writers,

Samuel Beckett

Bram Stoker

Lady Gregory

Sean O'Casey

George Bernard Shaw

Brendan Behan

William Butler Yeats

J.M. Synge

Mary Lavin

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35�many of them native to, or connected with, Dublin city. Some of the

most famous names in the history of literature and drama in English

were born within a few square miles of the city centre, namely Oscar

Wilde, J.M. Synge, Sean O’Casey, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, George

Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett.

Ireland’s literary heritage extends over many centuries - from the early

Christian period, which produced world famous illuminated manu-

scripts, including the Book of Kells and the Book of Durrow - right up to

the 17th and 18th centuries when a number of internationally renowned

playwrights emerged, including George Farquhar, Oliver Goldsmith

and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Dublin was the home of Jonathan

Swift, author of the enduring Gulliver’s Travels and other highly

acclaimed works of poetry and satire. 18th century Dublin also played

host to the philosophers Edmund Burke and George Berkeley as well

as the novelist Maria Edgeworth. Later, in the early 19th century, Dublin

produced the most popular dramatist of the time in Dion Boucicault.

His comic melodramas and plays were hugely successful at home and

enjoyed equal acclaim in London and New York.

The infl uence of the Irish folkloric tradition can be seen in the body of

gothic writing produced by Dublin writers. Charles Maturin's novel,

Melmoth the Wanderer, greatly infl uenced European literature. Joseph

Sheridan Le Fanu, a novelist and short-story writer, also produced

gothic works of international repute. Born in Clontarf, a mile from

the city centre, he shares this birthplace with Bram Stoker, the most

famous writer in that genre, whose novel Dracula still enjoys world-

wide acclaim and was the 2009 choice for the Dublin: One City, One

Book initiative. Maturin’s contemporary, James Clarence Mangan,

was one of the foremost Irish poetic talents of the 19th century. He is

joined in the pantheon of Irish poets by Thomas Moore, Thomas Davis

and Dublin resident, Gerald Manley Hopkins.

Oscar Wilde, another native son of the city, captivated the world with

his unique talent as a dramatist, poet and children’s author. Wilde

emigrated to London and made a lasting impression on British theatre

with his ever-popular plays, The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady

Windermere’s Fan, while also enjoying great success with his novel

The Picture of Dorian Gray – the 2010 choice for Dublin: One City, One

Book. George Bernard Shaw, a native of Dublin, was equally eager

to conquer the English stage and succeeded in becoming one of the

most important and successful dramatists in the English language.

Political agitation in the closing decades of the 19th century included

demands for a national theatre, an indigenous literary canon and pleas

for the revival of the Irish language. The energetic response from the

artistic community is now known as the Irish Literary Renaissance,

and it led to a dramatic increase in the volume of writing. This was the

era of W.B. Yeats, the fi rst of Ireland’s Nobel Prize winning authors,

whose poetry and drama enjoyed worldwide acclaim. Lady Augusta

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“ Th e Irish language

has its own canon of

great works, many of

which are available

in translation in

English and other


Gregory was also a key player. As a scholar, folklorist and dramatist

she, along with Yeats, founded the Abbey, the National Theatre of


Other internationally acclaimed writers emerging at this time included

dramatists J. M. Synge, Sean O’Casey and George Russell (Æ). Padraic

Colum was a poet, playwright, novelist, folklorist and children’s author

whose writing also contributed to the renewed confi dence and vitality

of the Irish literary climate. James Joyce, one of the most infl uential

and innovative writers in the English language, was born and raised in

Dublin and he became an enormously infl uential fi gure in 20th century

writing. His work, especially the short-story collection Dubliners, and

the novel Ulysses, immortalises the city of Dublin, its streets, shops,

customs – its people and its problems. Ulysses is now one of the most

widely known books in the world. Joyce joked that his writing would

keep the professors occupied for a hundred years. He was, in this as

in so many other areas, absolutely accurate.

The signal event in the history of the fi ght for Irish freedom is the Easter

Rising of 1916 when armed revolutionaries seized strategic buildings

in Dublin and declared Irish independence. Seven of the leaders of

this revolt were poets and writers and the incident is often referred to

as "The Poets' Revolution". The rebellion was rapidly quelled and the

leaders were executed, leading to a huge increase in support for their

cause and enhancing their status as martyrs for Irish freedom. Under

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37�colonialism the role of the writer was often seen as that of dissident,

of nationalist champion fi ghting an oppressive occupation, an identity

endorsed by these events.

Paradoxically, the energies released by the literary renaissance began

to wane once Irish independence became a reality. With the setting

up of the new Irish Free State, after the War of Independence, efforts

were made to carve out a new national identity, distinct from that of

the former coloniser and literature was destined to play a key role in

this endeavour.

This nationalistic agenda, together with the strong bond between the

Catholic Church and the new state, ironically resulted in a narrowing

of the horizons of the literary landscape. A great many local, as well as

international works of literary and political signifi cance were banned

by government censors. Low levels of book sales led the poet Patrick

Kavanagh to lament that no writer could make a living wage in Ireland

at this time.

This blinkered literary climate lasted throughout the 1930s and 40s

and eventually became the target for the next generation of renowned

Irish writers. Brendan Behan’s prose and dramatic works have both

local and international resonances in their evocations of the struggle

of the individual – and are celebrated as important markers of a transi-

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38�tional period in Irish writing. Another world-renowned Irish writer who

lived most of his life in Dublin is Flann O’Brien (Brian O’Nolan) whose

satirical writing and experimental novels equal those of his European

and South American counterparts in the bleakness of their vision,

their pleas for intellectual and personal freedom – and in the scope

of their sometimes surreal, highly imaginative landscapes. Renowned

for those same qualities is the dramatist and writer, Samuel Beckett.

Creator of some of the world’s most infl uential modern experimental

literature, Beckett is commemorated in the theatre that bears his name

in Trinity College Dublin.

The 1950s also produced two of Ireland’s leading 20th century poets,

Patrick Kavanagh and Austin Clarke, both hugely disillusioned by

the intellectual and artistic strictures of their time. Mid 20th century

Ireland also produced several women writers of international acclaim,

including Elizabeth Bowen, Norah Hoult, Kate O’Brien, Maura Laverty,

Val Mulkerns and Mary Lavin. Edna O’Brien’s original and highly styl-

ised writing attracted praise and censure in almost equal measure.

She tellingly commented, at the 2009 Irish Book Awards ceremony,

that ‘literature takes us to a place we didn’t know we could get to’.

The mid 20th century is seen now as the era of signifi cant develop-

ment in Irish short-story writing. Seán Ó Faoláin and Frank O’Connor

are recognised masters in this fi eld, with the work of Dublin resident

John McGahern later contributing to a school of short-story writing of

world-class excellence. Right up to, and including the 1950s, many

notable novelists were obliged, like those before them, to emigrate in

order to live and write freely.

New opportunities did however emerge in the 1950s with the founding

of the Dolmen Press, amongst others, which introduced writers of the

calibre of Thomas Kinsella, Anthony Cronin and John Montague. New

literary magazines appeared including Arena, Broadsheet, The Lace

Curtain and Poetry Ireland. Writers cast off their former identities as

either dissident voices at odds with society and government, or mouth-

pieces for nationalist ideals, and could now conceive of themselves as

part of a reinvigorated cultural climate where connection beyond the

island was possible. Many international writers came to Dublin and

Irish audiences were introduced to a range of writing hitherto unavail-

able through the founding of new literary imprints such as The Gallery

Press and New Writers’ Press.

The easing of censorship in 1967 had a further positive effect on Irish

writing, publishing and reading. A second wave of feminism in the

1970s encouraged women writers to embrace their creativity and a

new generation of talent emerged including Eavan Boland, Ita Daly,

Maeve Binchy, Anne Haverty and Evelyn Conlon.

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39�From the 1970s onwards, Irish writers, with their new literary freedoms,

had a renewed sense of belonging, of being valued by their society.

This was enhanced by two important government initiatives, unique

to Ireland. In 1981, the Taoiseach, (Prime Minister) Charles Haughey

instigated a new scheme in support of writers and other creative

artists, through the formation of Aosdána (Aos meaning a band and

dána meaning artistic) which guaranteed a basic state income to its

members. Haughey had earlier introduced a change in the law to allow

artists exemption from taxation for income earned from their creative

work. Both schemes made an enormous difference to the living condi-

tions of writers in Ireland and still exist today.

Towards the close of the century, Ireland, and chiefl y Dublin, witnessed

an opening up of its literary climate with new journals, periodicals, small

magazines and far greater media coverage available. Many women’s

voices, inspired by the international success of Maeve Binchy, for

example, joined the world of writing, making a signifi cant contribution

to the cultural landscape. Poetry, fi ction, drama and script-writing all

enjoyed a new freedom in a city eager for new experiences and new

creative works. In these decades Eavan Boland, Máire Mhac an tSaoi

and Paula Meehan achieved international acclaim alongside their male

counterparts, such as Brendan Kennelly and Dublin resident, Gerald

Dawe. At the same time, the novelists John Banville, Roddy Doyle,

Patrick McCabe, Patricia Scanlan and Marian Keyes rose to interna-

tional fame.

Successive governments have pursued a liberalising agenda since the

1970s. The relatively recent infl ux of immigrants from all corners of

the globe introduced a cosmopolitan outlook and the city’s popula-

tion is now very far from the hom*ogenous, conservative community

of the pre-1990s. Economic success, technological advances and

new communication possibilities have all played their part in Dublin’s

ever growing literary environment. An enviable number of world-class

writers participate in a literary culture where events and festivals,

debates and discussions are enthusiastically embraced – and are an

integral and highly valued part of the city’s life.

“ Dublin’s own literary heritage, and its particular travails through the

centuries, has given Dubliners an appreciation for the freedoms we

currently enjoy and a desire to ensure that others enjoy these too.”

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40�The last decades of the 20th century saw the emergence of a multi-

tude of talented voices from Dublin. In every literary genre – including

script writing for television and fi lm, ‘chick lit’ and writing for teenagers

– Dublin has fostered an array of original talent unequalled by any other

city of its size. On the world literary stage the city continues to punch

above its weight and currently boasts a galaxy of literary stars whose

works have travelled worldwide to huge acclaim.

Dubliners’ appetite for stories, written or performed, is immense.

They look to the literary world to learn and to fi nd within it imagina-

tive engagements with the issues of the day, as well as eloquent

forms of expression with which to shape their own responses. The

literary world is also seen as a valuable form of connection with other

communities, other nations, whose stories, artistic expression and

literary life are warmly welcomed. As the American writer Richard

Ford commented when judging the Davy Byrne Irish Writing Award

‘your regulation grade Irish man or woman might just be able to write

a pretty decent short story in his or her sleep’.

Dublin’s own literary heritage, and its particular travails through the

centuries, has given its citizens an appreciation of the freedoms

currently enjoyed and a desire to ensure that others enjoy these too.

Involvement in the literary arena provides a vital bonding agent across

class, race and religion within the city and beyond, and this is held

dear by Dubliners of all ages. There is an awareness in the city that

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41�the literary world can be a vehicle for change, one which can offer a

valuable and lasting form of connection, with both personal and public


See Appendix 1 for Artistic & Creative Community.


Ireland is offi cially a bi-lingual nation, but Dublin, like all post-colonial

cities, bears the imprint of that historical experience in its languages.

A key aspect of this is the linguistic vitality that the city’s inhabitants

display and the irreverent, often iconoclastic and inventive ways in

which Irish people speak English. The dialect Hiberno-English is used

by Dubliners in varying degrees and owes its origins to the centuries

of colonial rule to which the city was subjected.

Archaic and obsolescent uses of English words persist; (e.g. ‘delph’

for crockery). The dialect's anarchic side is visible in the way that it

appropriates many words from Irish (e.g. ‘amadán’ for fool) and also in

the way English is subjected to non-standard patterns where the struc-

tures of the Irish language replace those of the conventional English

model. The result is a particular form of English with an extended

range of expressive possibilities, enlivened and enhanced by these

elements and infl ections.

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42�The use of the English language in Ireland began with the Anglo-

Norman invasion in the 12th century and enjoyed fl uctuations in use

until the later plantation schemes, when it became more widespread

throughout the island.

From the 17th century onwards many concerted attempts were made to

suppress the Irish language, including the imposition of harsh fi nancial

penalties on those found speaking it. From the outset, the distribution

of both languages could roughly be charted along an urban/rural divide,

gradually becoming more pronounced in an east/west division as the

native population was systematically driven from fertile lands to the

more barren regions of the western seaboard. Today these remain the

primary locations for Irish speaking communities, or Gaeltachts. Irish

continued to be part of life in the cities, including Dublin, which was

home to several prominent Irish language writers at this time. Forced

to function underground, the Irish language literary world survived, in

this and the following two centuries, by smuggling works published

abroad back into the country for circulation.

The process of anglicisation was extensive throughout the 18th

century. By the 19th century the Irish language and other elements

of Irish culture had come to be regarded by many as symbols of

backwardness and failure amongst the native population. Daniel

O’Connell’s mass emancipation project for the Catholic population

was conducted in English; the new system of national primary schools

also used English as the language of instruction and the anglicisation

of the island was highlighted in the fi rst ordnance survey undertaken

by the British Government in the mid 19th century in which all the place

names of the island were given in English.

Resistance to this imposition was initially strong, but after the devas-

tating Great Famine (1845-51), English was embraced more actively

by the native population. This shift has traditionally been interpreted as

resulting from a need to embrace English as the language of economic

progress. It is now acknowledged that a situation where emigration

from Ireland was seen as the means of survival, let alone advance-

ment, also contributed to this change in attitude. America and England

were the preferred destinations for Irish emigrants and the English

language was a prerequisite for employment there.

However, the abandonment of the Irish language did not persist as the

19th century drew to a close. Agitation for political independence was

supported by several cultural movements, including the Irish Literary

Renaissance and an Irish language revival. The Gaelic League, founded

in 1893 by Douglas Hyde, sought to revive Irish as a spoken and literary

language. A mass movement emerged and thrived up to the middle

decades of the 20th century.

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43�With the achievement of independence and the formation of the new

Irish Free State in 1922, Irish was reinstated as the fi rst language of

the country. The study of the language by all schoolchildren became

compulsory and the Irish language and literature movements continued

to enjoy widespread support from government and educationalists.

Irish is now recognised by the European Union as an offi cial language of

the country. Government and legal business is conducted in both Irish

and English. Most government offi ces, bodies and state organisations

are referred to by their Irish language titles. Much of the population

is bi-lingual to some degree and Irish language television and radio

channels attract wide audiences. Since the 1980s the Irish language

has enjoyed a rise in popularity with schools teaching through Irish

increasing in number throughout the country as more parents opt to

raise their children in a bi-lingual environment.

In 1926 the largest Irish language publisher, An Gúm, was established

and continues to thrive today. To date it has published in excess of

2,500 titles. Another important state initiative was the establishment

in 1952 of Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge (Irish Language Books Board),

now called Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge (Programme for Irish Language

Books), an organisation which fosters publishing in the Irish language

by awarding grants and commissions to Irish language writers and


Both An Gúm and Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge are now part of Foras na

Gaeilge, established in 1999 to promote the Irish language throughout

the whole island of Ireland.

The most recent Irish language literary development is the Irish

language writers’ collective, Cumann Scríobhneoirí Úra na Gaeilge

(New Irish Writers' Association). Founded in 2007 to cultivate new

Irish language literature, its members are young and have diverse

literary interests.

The strength of Irish language writing in Dublin is refl ected annually

in IMRAM, a festival of readings by celebrated contemporary Irish

language writers such as Louis de Paor, Rita Kelly, Gréagóir Ó Dúill

and Liam Mac Cóil. Performances and music events are also central

to the festival.

The Irish language has its own canon of great works, many of which

are available in translation in English and other languages. The works

of Tomás Ó Criomhthainn, Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Máirtín Ó Direáin and

Máire Mhac an tSaoi were followed by those of Muirís ÓSúilleabháin,

Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Gabriel Rosenstock, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and

more recently by Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Anna Heussaff and many others.

Several of these writers enjoy international reputations through English

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44�and other translations. For those equipped with both languages,

contemporary literary activity in Irish offers a range of challenging and

exciting writing, equal in scope to its English language counterparts.

The dual language legacy outlined above creates an added dimension

for Irish speakers of English, one where both languages infect and

infl ect each other. The result has been an Anglo-Irish literary tradition,

rich in colourful and original forms of expression, in a body of writing

which enjoys worldwide acclaim. Coming from the margin, from the

periphery of empire and equipped with a sensitivity to the expressive

possibilities of both languages, Irish writers have been willing to push

the boundaries of literary conventions in innovative and creative ways.

James Joyce is a key example of the skillful use of this dual language

inheritance and his worldwide reputation testifi es to his unique contri-

bution to 20th century literature. Many other Irish writers show a similar

inventiveness in their open embrace of Irish idioms and forms within

their writing. Their ranks include Brendan Behan, Flann O’Brien, J.M.

Synge, Sean O’Casey, and more recently Patrick McCabe. All have

exploited the unique linguistic heritage of the Irish subject to great

effect in their writing.


Support for the literary world extends beyond the literal and verbal

endorsem*nt of its merits, into real fi nancial investment through a host

of agencies. Chief amongst these is the Arts Council/An Comhairle

Ealaíon. Established in 1951 to stimulate public interest in, and to

promote the practice and appreciation of all the arts, the Arts Council

is an important sponsor of literature in Dublin and its funding schemes

aid the publication of specialist works of a cultural nature. The Arts

Council supports a number of literary publishers including Dedalus

Press, New Island, Carysfort Press, Cois Life, Coiscéim, Lilliput Press,

O’Brien Press and the Stinging Fly Press. Dublin-based literary peri-

odicals receiving support include Cyphers, Poetry Ireland Review, The

Stinging Fly and The Dublin Review.

The Arts Council currently provides annual support to a number of key

strategic resource organisations based in Dublin, including Children’s

Books Ireland, Poetry Ireland, Ireland Literature Exchange, iBbY Ireland

and Publishing Ireland and also undertakes research to assist in the

dissemination of Irish writing abroad.

Dublin’s writers also benefi t from Arts Council support. Through

its direct funding of bursaries to individual writers, the Arts Council

makes a signifi cant investment in Ireland’s intellectual capital. These

bursaries, awarded to both established and budding writers, allow

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45�them freedom to devote their energies exclusively to writing. The Arts

Council also co-funds writer-in-residence programmes in a number of

third-level institutions throughout the country.

Other government support for Dublin’s literary life is provided by the

Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism and its national agency Culture

Ireland, which is charged with promoting Irish arts and artists over-

seas. Its remit includes the allocation of grants for overseas activities

and the funding of Irish artists’ participation in international events –

and many Dublin writers benefi t from this support.

Ireland Literature Exchange (ILE) is the organisation for the interna-

tional promotion of Irish literature, in English and Irish. It achieves its

aims primarily by offering translation grants to international publishers.

ILE also offers residential bursaries to literary translators, organises

translator and author events at international festivals and participates

regularly in the major world book fairs. In addition, ILE supports Irish

publishers who wish to publish international literature in translation.

Dublin City Council, through its Arts Offi ce grants scheme, provides

considerable fi nancial support to the city’s artistic community, including

writers. The city council also supports some of Dublin’s most popular

and successful cultural events, including Culture Night, Open House

and, on the literary scene, is the main funder of the Dublin Writers’

Festival, the annual Dublin: One City, One Book promotion and the

International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

Dublin Tourism, a state-sponsored agency with a membership of over

1,300 businesses in the capital, also supports Dublin’s literary life by

funding some of the city’s most popular literary attractions: the Dublin

Writers’ Museum, the James Joyce Tower and the George Bernard

Shaw Museum. Dublin Tourism works closely with Fáilte Ireland, the

national tourism development authority, to maximise Dublin’s profi le

as a high quality cultural destination.

At state level, the arts in Ireland receive enviable fi nancial support,

including attractive tax exemptions on creative work. Established in

1981, Aosdána is the peer-selected group of artists whose work has

made an outstanding contribution to Irish arts. Members are facilitated

in devoting time to their art through a stipend scheme, the Cnuas,

which is re-assessed every fi ve years. Overall, through these various

initiatives, considerable fi nancial and professional support is made

available to enhance the efforts of all parties involved in Dublin’s

literary life.

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Ireland has a long tradition of excellence in the skills of printing, repro-

duction and bookbinding and many exquisite examples from the 18th

and 19th centuries are held in Dublin repositories. Fine examples of

20th century books were produced by the Cuala and Dolmen Presses.

Dolmen’s The Táin, translated by Thomas Kinsella and illustrated by

Louis le Brocquy, is widely acclaimed as Ireland’s foremost ‘Livre

d’Artiste’. Today the Irish publishing industry is a thriving business

with both general and specialist publishers operating in Dublin. Inter-

nationally renowned Irish writers, including John Banville, Seamus

Heaney, Joseph O’Connor and Colm Tóibín continue to work with

Irish publishers and journals, taking advantage of the high standards of

literary editing available in Ireland. Penguin, Hachette and Transworld

are examples of leading international publishers in the city, eager to be

a part of the successful Irish literary scene.

Currently, Dublin has in the region of fi fty businesses publishing

educational material, schoolbooks, academic, religious and govern-

ment literature, as well as those involved in fi ction, biography, sports,

cookery, travel, history, children’s books and periodicals.

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Irish publishers and book sales in general have enjoyed a decade or

more of solid growth in a buoyant market. 2008 fi gures indicated total

national book sales amounting to €150m. Dubliners represent roughly

one third of Ireland’s population, suggesting that annual book sales for

the city are in excess of €50m.

Internationally respected literary periodicals from Dublin include Books

Ireland and The Dublin Review, renowned for the quality of their prose

writing and scholarship. Poetry Ireland Review is the quarterly publica-

tion of the national organisation for poetry, also known for the high

calibre of its output.

Cyphers is one of Ireland’s longest established literary magazines.

Edited by highly acclaimed writers, Eiléan Ní Chuileanáin, Pearse

Hutchinson, Macdara Woods and Leland Bardwell, it places a strong

emphasis on creative work, publishing poetry, prose, graphics and

reviews by many distinguished writers, translators and artists. The

Stinging Fly, founded in 1998, provides a forum for new Irish and inter-

national writing, both prose and poetry, and publishes three editions

per year. The magazine is particularly interested in the short-story form

and aims to encourage this amongst Dublin’s new writers. The Irish

Theatre Magazine, now an online publication, serves the interests of

Irish drama, while Irish language writing and events are the preserve of

Comhar and An Léitheoir, an Irish language journal listing new books.

The academic world is served by a number of journals published in

Dublin, including Éigse: a journal of Irish Studies, the Dublin James

Joyce Journal and the Irish University Review. The Irish Journal of

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48�Gothic and Horror Studies is an interdisciplinary, bi-annual electronic

publication dedicated to the exploration of literature, fi lm, new media

and television in this genre.

Dublin also has a monthly current affairs, culture and arts magazine,

The Dubliner, which features reviews, interviews and features on

literary matters. Many bookshops, writers’ groups and smaller literary

groups have an active presence both printed and on-line.

Publishing Ireland was established in 1970 to share expertise and

resources in publishing; to maximise opportunity in the industry and to

foster international co-operation. Most of the major publishing houses

are members of the organisation. The Dublin Book Festival, which

showcases Irish publishers and writers, is organised by Publishing

Ireland and takes place in Dublin in March each year.

Publishing in Dublin continues to thrive and enjoys an enabling envi-

ronment, well served by the wealth of literary talent available locally,

supported by local and national government funding and connecting

through a host of professional and trade organisations.

Dublin-based publishers are listed in Appendix 4.


Dublin boasts a large complement of fi ne libraries, many of which have

collections of world signifi cance. The city has a history of establishing

and valuing its libraries throughout the centuries and this continues


With its network of twenty-three branches, Dublin City Public Libraries

(DCPL) is at the heart of the literary life of the capital. It plays a

leading role in stimulating the intellectual life of citizens, developing

and encouraging interest in literature and literacy through an imagina-

tive array of free services and programmes of activities and events.

Its special collections of Dublin and Irish material, including the City

Archives, form a signifi cant and complementary resource of both civic

and national importance.

DCPL provides service to the new communities within the city

including a range of foreign language publications. In conjunction with

Ireland Literature Exchange, DCPL also makes available the Rosetta

List – a unique collection of contemporary Irish writing translated into

a range of languages. DCPL plays an important role in connecting the

disparate elements of Dublin’s literary arena, organising and providing

facilities for well over a hundred book clubs and many writers’ groups,

who meet regularly for discussion, exchange of ideas and support.

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49�DCPL’s talent for connecting the public and the literary community has

been repeatedly proven in the success of its many initiatives, including

its origination of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1995,

and an annual Readers’ Day which offers opportunities for readers to

engage with high-profi le local and international writers.

The award-winning annual Dublin: One City, One Book programme,

which DCPL initiated in 2006, invites everyone in the city to share in

the reading and exploration of a single text connected with the city,

complemented by a range of associated and often highly imaginative

events. These include readings, discussions and dramatic perform-

ances, related fi lms, theatre and inter-disciplinary events.

The National Library of Ireland, situated in the city centre, offers a

range of facilities to scholars and researchers. The library holds the

world's most comprehensive collection of Irish documentary mate-

rial including books, manuscripts, periodicals, newspapers, drawings,

photographs and maps. It has extensive holdings of the manuscripts of

leading Irish writers such as James Joyce, Sean O’Casey, Brian Friel,

Roddy Doyle, John Montague and Colm Tóibín. Its collection of Nobel

Laureate W.B. Yeats’ manuscripts and other material donated by the

Yeats family is the largest in the world.

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50�In 2006 the National Library followed its hugely successful exhibition

on James Joyce with one dedicated to W.B. Yeats, covering aspects of

the poet’s life and work and charting his development as a writer. The

commentary to the exhibition provides visitors with important insights

into the social, cultural and political context of Yeats’ poetry. The very

successful Library Late series of talks attracts well-known writers from

Ireland and elsewhere to be interviewed in the library. Themed public

events are also arranged around key dates such as Yeats’ birthday.

An important landmark on Dublin’s scholarly and bibliographic land-

scape is the Library of Trinity College. A copyright library since 1801,

it holds over 4m volumes including, the early 9th century Book of Kells

(one of the country’s premier tourist attractions) and the 12th century

Book of Leinster, both lavishly illustrated religious manuscripts. The

library’s famous Long Room – almost 65 metres in length, houses

200,000 of its oldest books, manuscripts and printed material built

up since the end of the 16th century. Trinity College Library also has a

rich repository of research material from the 18th and 19th centuries as

well as enviable collections of 20th century manuscripts including the

works of Samuel Beckett, J.M. Synge and other notable Anglo-Irish

writers. The library is home to the Trinity Long Room Hub, an initia-

tive designed to maximise accessibility to the library’s outstanding

research collections.

“ Publishing in Dublin continues

to thrive and enjoys an enabling

environment, well served by the

wealth of literary talent available


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51�Archbishop Marsh’s Library, founded in 1701, was the fi rst public

library in Ireland and remains open to this day. The library contains

over 1,700 books relating to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, covering

medicine, law, science, mathematics, navigation, surveying, science,

travel and classical literature.

The Chester Beatty Library is a museum as well as a library. Home

to one of the world’s outstanding collections of Islamic manuscripts,

Chinese, Japanese, Indian and other oriental works of art, the library

was left to the nation by the collector Sir Alfred Chester Beatty who

had made Dublin his home. The Benjamin Iveagh Library in Farmleigh

House, donated by the Guinness family, includes important fi ne Irish

bookbindings as well as historical manuscripts and fi rst editions.

The James Joyce Library in University College Dublin is an important

research resource in the city. The rare books collection within the

library includes a range of material relating to Joyce – the city’s most

famous literary son, as well as a collection of papers and manuscripts

from the novelists Edna O’Brien and Maeve Binchy.

Other research libraries which house material particular to the interests

of their respective institutions include the Royal Irish Academy Library,

the Royal Dublin Society Library and the Central Catholic Library. All

are important repositories of the city’s cultural heritage.

The Archive at CityArts with its extensive collection of photographs,

papers and videos provides a record of the community arts movement

in the city – an important, but often invisible, sector of Dublin’s cultural


More recent documentation of the city’s many interests and events

are housed in the RTÉ Library and Archive, the National Visual Arts

Library, the National Photographic Archive (part of the National Library

of Ireland) and the Irish Film Institute’s Tiernan Library. All of these

provide access to a range of material for the student, researcher, writer

and historian.

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In Dublin, all sections of the literary community – readers, writers,

publishers and librarians – are individually and collectively served by a

range of literary centres, groups, associations and organisations.

Poetry Ireland, the national organisation dedicated to developing,

supporting and promoting poetry throughout Ireland and abroad, cele-

brated its 30th anniversary in 2008. Based in Dublin, it is committed to

creating meaningful encounters with poetry for the public and read-

ings are presented by established national, international and emerging

poets countrywide. In addition, Poetry Ireland assists festivals at home

and abroad by advising on the programming of events. The Writers-in-

Schools Scheme enables writers of all genres to visit schools. Poetry

Ireland Review, published quarterly, is the journal of record for poetry

in Ireland and a critical assessment service is provided for emerging

writers who require a professional critique of their work.

The James Joyce Centre, supported by the Department of Arts, Sport

and Tourism and Dublin City Council, is situated in a restored 18th

century Georgian townhouse in an area replete with Joycean signifi -

cance. The centre works to foster and develop appreciation of Joyce’s

writing through master classes and educational and commemorative

events. It is a signifi cant cultural tourism attraction and each year is at

the centre of the Bloomsweek celebrations across the city.

The Teachers’ Club (Club na Múinteoirí), situated on Parnell Square

in the centre of the city, is another focal point for literary activity. The

Dublin Yarnspinners hosts monthly sessions here, complemented

regularly by visiting international storytellers. The club also has a small

theatre which is used by community groups and other theatre compa-


The Irish Writers’ Centre is a key player in Dublin’s literary life hosting

a continuous programme of events, including readings, book launches,

seminars, and discussions. Illustrious writers have made appearances

here, including winners of the Nobel, Costa, Man Booker, Dublin

IMPAC, and Pulitzer prizes. Young and emerging writers have also

been given their fi rst public platform. The centre provides a wide

range of services and facilities including a programme of workshops

and master-classes aimed at assisting emerging writers at every stage

of their development. While the Writers’ Centre provides an important

interface between Irish writers and their public, it has also developed

a relationship with Dublin’s new immigrant communities celebrating

their various literary cultures. On an international level, the Writers’

Centre is a focus and venue for visiting writers, the place where they

can meet Irish colleagues and present their work to an Irish audience.

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53�The Dublin Writers’ Workshop is the city’s longest running writers’

group. Meeting regularly in Bowe’s Pub in Fleet Street, it publishes the

Acorn series, an annual anthology of new writing from the group – also

available online.

Dublin’s writers and publishers receive the support of a range of

trade and professional associations, literary groups and organisations,

working to represent and enhance their efforts.

See Appendices 1, 2 & 4 for support organisations

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Awards are a regular feature of Dublin’s literary calendar. Foremost

in an exhilarating round of events is the International IMPAC Dublin

Literary Award, now in its fi fteenth year. One of Dublin City Coun-

cil’s most prestigious and successful initiatives, led by its public library

service, it plays a key role in encouraging reading and writing from all

corners of the globe.

This is a unique prize, not only in that it offers a substantial fi nancial

reward to the winner, but also in the fact that its democratic selection

process involves nominations from public library services throughout

the world. For 2010, the long-list includes 156 titles (of which 41 are

in translation), nominated by 163 libraries representing 123 cities in 43


The award is also special, in that where a winner’s work is translated,

25% of the prize money is awarded to the translator. Translation is

thereby endorsed and rewarded, a strong signal to others that such

connectivity is at the centre of the Dublin literary agenda.

Promoting international exchanges of literary work is recognised by

the award as a vital element in expanding awareness, in spreading

understanding and connection between diverse cultures via the

literary world. In recent years many of the winners, including Colm

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55�tion accompanies many of these awards through the publications

from which some of them originate; The Hennessy/Sunday Tribune

New Irish Writing Award (for outstanding poetry or fi ction) and The

Irish Times Poetry Now Award (presented to the best single volume

of poems by an Irish poet or from an Irish publisher). Davy Byrne’s

Irish Writing Award, Ireland’s biggest short story competition and

the world’s richest prize for a single short story, is organised by The

Stinging Fly in association with The Irish Times.

The Irish Book Awards are sponsored by a diverse range of businesses

– booksellers, radio/TV, a well-known energy drink company and the

Dublin Airport Authority – and are made in several categories. These

awards promote Irish writers and stimulate book sales. The Bisto Book

of the Year Awards, in partnership with Children’s Books Ireland (CBI),

open to books written in Irish or English, are the leading children's

book awards in Ireland. Now in their 19th year, and sponsored by the

same food company since their inception, the awards are made annu-

ally by CBI to authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland.

The Rooney Prize was established in 1976 by Dr Daniel M. Rooney of

Chicago, the recently-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. Admin-

istered by the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, School of English,

Trinity College Dublin, it is awarded annually to a published Irish writer

under 40 whose work the selection committee considers to show

outstanding promise. The Rupert and Eithne Strong Award for Best

Tóibín, have demonstrated their support for human rights issues – and

the role that books play in raising awareness and in defeating repres-

sion and censorship.

In his acceptance speech, the 2008 winner, Lebanese/Canadian writer

Rawi Hage spoke eloquently of his gratitude to the Award for coura-

geously selecting his ‘uncompromising, but nevertheless, necessary

book.’ He said;

“I am myself the product of divisions and mergers – my childhood

was marked by the geographical and sectarian divide of a nation in

war. It is ironic, familiar, and also reassuring that I am talking to you

tonight from Ireland, a nation once war-driven, and now a peaceful and

prosperous land; a nation with a history that parallels the history of

my native Lebanon . . . I grew up learning two languages and different

histories, and at the age of eighteen learned the English language and

imbibed the canon of its great poets and writers. Later, as a traveller,

a citizen, a worker, a reader and a writer, I was, fortunately, bound to

become a global citizen…”

Dublin plays host to an ever-growing number of literary awards and

competitions. Sponsored by an array of businesses, many of which

are native to the city, they are a testament to the interest and support

shown by the wider community in Dublin. Widespread media atten-

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56�First Collection (poetry), welcomes nominations in both English and

Irish. Poetry Ireland, in conjunction with anti-racism bodies, spon-

sors Schools Against Racism, a poetry and short-story competition

for schoolchildren. Poetry Aloud, an annual poetry speaking competi-

tion, is organised by the National Library, in association with Poetry

Ireland, with the aim of fostering a greater awareness and appreciation

of poetry in young people.

Irish language writers have access to an annual range of awards

through the Chomórtais Liteartha (Literary Competitions) organised

by Oireachtas na Gaeilge, a celebration of Irish language and culture.

Open to all ages and levels of experience these awards extend to tele-

vision and radio scripts, journalism and non-fi ction. A number of Irish

language bursaries, commissions and prizes are also available.

International sponsorship continues with the American Ireland Fund

Literary Award, annually presented for an outstanding literary work.

Peer selection by writers who are members of Irish PEN is the method

used for the annual Irish PEN/A.T. Cross Achievement in Literature


Arts sponsors are also honoured annually through the Allianz Busi-

ness to Arts Awards, given for the most effective and imaginative

collaboration between business sponsors and arts organisations. The

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57�Francis MacManus Short Story Competition, sponsored by RTÉ, the

state broadcaster, is for original radio short stories and commemorates

the distinguished broadcaster and novelist Francis MacManus. Also

sponsored by RTÉ, the P.J. O’Connor Awards aim to encourage new

writers for radio drama and to raise awareness of the scope of radio as

a medium in the fi eld of drama.

The wide range of prestigious literary awards testifi es not only to the

high volume of literary talent, but also to the equally impressive level of

commitment and support the literary world solicits from other sectors

of the business and cultural communities. The willingness that exists

to encourage and honour literary works as a valuable element of the

life of the city, helping writers, readers and publishers alike, refl ects

the high value Dubliners place on this important activity.

See full list of literary awards in Appendix 6.

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The Dublin Writers’ Festival, sponsored by Dublin City Council and

the Arts Council, enjoys an international reputation. Festival events are

held in a range of venues in the city centre and there is a distinct buzz in

the air with bars and cafes fi lled to capacity. The 2009 festival featured

writers such as Simon Schama, Seamus Heaney, Anne Michaels and

Sarah Waters.

Bloomsweek, held in June every year, offers fun and frolics as the city

commemorates James Joyce. Leopold Bloom, the central character

in Ulysses, gives his name to the festival which celebrates the novel’s

global impact. Scholars and enthusiasts from all over the world attend

this now-famous event. Embracing the serious and the silly, the week

includes readings, performances, discussions, exhibitions, literary

walks, bicycle races in Edwardian costume – and visits to the pubs

mentioned in the novel. Bloomsday itself commemorates the day on

which Joyce fi rst walked out with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle, and is

celebrated all round the world, notably in Melbourne, itself a UNESCO

City of Literature.

The Dublin Book Festival, organised by Publishing Ireland, celebrates

the best of contemporary Irish publishing in a festive environment.

Events are free and include publishing fora, workshops, author read-

ings and book launches, promoting both English and Irish language

writing. In 2009 more than 10,000 people attended the festival.

BOOKS 2009 is a new arrival on the Dublin literary festival scene.

Started in 2008, it features children’s events as well as a varied list of

writers across a broad range of genres.

The Poetry Now Festival, sponsored by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

County Council and the Arts Council, is held annually in Dún Laoghaire,

County Dublin. Major international poets are featured in readings,

discussions, workshops, exhibitions and poetry master classes. Inter-

national fi gures welcomed in recent years have included Margaret

Atwood, C.K. Williams, W.S. Merwin and Adam Zagajewski.

The Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival, a new annual festival spon-

sored by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, celebrates the

large number of famous literary names who lived, wrote and drew

inspiration from this part of County Dublin.

Children’s Book Festival, a hugely popular and long-standing national

celebration of children’s books and reading, is supported by Dublin’s

bookshops, libraries and schools. Writers, publishers and chil-

dren’s entertainers enter into the spirit of the festival and the annual

programme of events emphasises the value and importance of encour-

aging children to enter into the magical world of books and reading.

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59�Bealtaine, the national festival celebrating creativity in older age, is held

each May and includes a full programme of painting, crafts, dance,

music and literature. Writers, poets and dramatists are a key part of

the festival. In 2009, The Magpie’s Nest project involved Bealtaine

participants immersing themselves in the collections of the National

Library and examining their personal associations with items in the

collections. The theme for the 2009 festival was provided by a quota-

tion from Miroslav Holub’s poem The Door

“Go and open the door”

Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Language Week) is held annually in March

and includes, amongst a wide range of cultural events, storytelling for

children, readings, discussions and competitions.

The international agenda is served by a number of collaborative festi-

vals. The Franco-Irish Literary Festival, sponsored by the Alliance

Française, and now in its 11th year, and the Spanish-Irish Literary

Festival, sponsored by the Instituto Cervantes, are examples of this

form of cultural exchange between countries. Dublin is also home to

the Instituta Cultura Italia and the Goëthe Institute.

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60�With considerable scholarly talent, including academics of world

renown within their respective faculties, universities in Dublin

frequently host literary conferences and seminars. Trinity College

Dublin and University College Dublin, as well as St. Patrick’s College,

part of Dublin City University, regularly attract international scholars to

their literary events and famous summer schools. Through the Oscar

Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, Trinity College Dublin hosts an annual

series of public readings by contemporary writers, many of whom

have established international reputations. The centre is associated

with the university’s Masters' Degree in Creative Writing.

The Dublin Writers’ Museum, the Royal Irish Academy, Univer-

sity College Dublin’s Newman House (the former home of Cardinal

Newman in St. Stephen’s Green which also houses the Gerard Manley

Hopkins Room), Trinity College Library's Long Room, and the National

Library frequently host book launches, public lecture series, commem-

orative lectures and literary events.

Poetry Ireland organises readings by major international and national

poets at a variety of venues in central Dublin. It also provides support

and a showcase for emerging poets through the Introductions series

of readings.

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61�The Abbey Theatre, another of Dublin’s famous venues, gives audi-

ences access to writers and playwrights through Abbey Talks – a

series of interviews and discussions related to its current programme

of plays. A very successful addition to Dublin’s literary events has been

the Chapters and Verse series of lunchtime poetry readings organ-

ised by the Seven Towers Literary Agency and Chapters bookshop of

Parnell Street.

Many of Dublin’s city centre pubs have been immortalised in Irish

writing – and they refl ect their inclusion by hosting literary events.

Cassidy’s Bar, which occupies the former premises of the Freeman’s

Journal newspaper in Westmoreland Street is a good example. The

Last Wednesday Series of poetry readings and open mic sessions,

organised by the Seven Towers Literary Agency, are held here, as the

name suggests, on the last Wednesday of every month. This affords

new writers an opportunity to hear new work while enjoying a forum

for their own.

Bowe’s Pub in Fleet Street is home to two further poetry events: the

Dublin Poetry Conference organises monthly readings and open mic

sessions, as does the Dublin Writers’ Workshop, the Carnival Bar in

Wexford Street hosts the Naked Lunch Poetry Nights while Craw-

Daddy, in Harcourt Street recently featured the international Love

Poetry Hate Racism celebration.

All of the literary festivals and events, not to mention the frequent book

launches and lectures by visiting writers, make it possible for Dubliners

to connect both with Ireland’s literary heritage and the international

literary world. For a city of its size, Dublin offers many opportunities for

listeners to hear a range of voices, all of which join in the exploration

and celebration of writing, old and new.

In Dublin, literary matters are not confi ned to the classroom or the

lecture hall – consigned to the preserve of practitioners, professionals

and initiates alone. Books are everyone’s business – the city’s busi-

ness – a valued part of everyday life. Audiences at most events are

mixed; readers and writers of all ages, races and persuasions attend

these events and their energy and enthusiasm is impressive.

Literary Festivals are listed in Appendix 3.

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Ireland’s education system is highly regarded throughout the world

and is key to attracting inward investment to the island, with an

educated and often poly-lingual workforce as an important factor.

Creative writing and the appreciation of literature are encouraged

from an early age - illustrated by a Dublin schoolchild’s participation in

the 2009 Pushkin Prize. 11 year-old Jak Farrell neatly encapsulates a

crucial period of Irish history in his poem about the Vikings They Came

on the High Seas

"Their faces were fi erce

With horns on their head

And if you had seen them

You’d wish you were dead.

They conquered our land

Then they took pity

And helped us build

Dublin’s Fair City."

Second level education demands the study of English covering the

great works from Ireland’s literary past, alongside contemporary

writing from Ireland, Britain and America. School-leavers are equipped

with a good knowledge of these categories of writing and a high level

of literary awareness is common. This may account to some degree

for the abiding interest many Irish people have in literary matters.

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63�Dublin has many highly regarded third level institutions, several of which

have humanities faculties where literature is a popular choice at under-

graduate and postgraduate level. Trinity College Dublin, University

College Dublin, Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology

and the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology offer an

extensive range of degrees over a wide range of subjects.

Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland, boasts many illustrious

former students including Jonathan Swift, Oliver Goldsmith, Edmund

Burke, Oscar Wilde, J.M. Synge and Samuel Beckett, many of whom

are now the subject of study for the college’s renowned M. Phil degree

in Anglo-Irish Literature. Masters degrees are also offered in Popular

Literature and Literature of the Americas. The university’s literary repu-

tation was enhanced in 1988 by the establishment of an M.Phil degree

in creative writing, taught in the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing.

The centre, located in the former home of the Wilde family at 21 West-

land Row, also houses the Visiting Writer’s Offi ce and has hosted

many famous authors, including George Szirtes, Andrew O’Hagan,

and Carlo Gebler. The renowned American writer Richard Ford was

appointed Adjunct Professor in 2008.

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64�The School of Drama in Trinity College runs the only degree-level

professional acting programme in Ireland. This is organised by the

Samuel Beckett Centre in association with the Abbey Theatre. The

centre also offers an M.Phil degree in Irish fi lm, music and theatre.

Leading Irish playwright Marina Carr was appointed in 2008 to teach

the playwriting module.

Trinity College Dublin also runs an annual summer school in Anglo-

Irish writing which attracts students from all corners of the world.

This seven-week programme offers the chance to explore Irish fi ction,

poetry, history, culture and visual culture, as well as critical issues in

contemporary Ireland.

Founded in 1851 as the Catholic University of Ireland, University College

Dublin (UCD) is the largest single university institution in Ireland, with

ten faculties and over eighty departments offering a comprehensive

range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in both the

humanities and the sciences. It is also the only institution with a school

of library and information science.

UCD lists an impressive number of literary fi gures associated with

its history. They include James Joyce as well as Austin Clarke, Flann

O’Brien, Kate O’Brien, Thomas Kinsella, John McGahern, Maeve

Binchy, Frank McGuinness, Colm Tóibín, Roddy Doyle, Marina Carr,

Emma Donoghue and Conor McPherson.

The university awards the Ulysses Medal, named in honour of James

Joyce, to individuals whose work has made an outstanding global

contribution in many fi elds. In 2006, 2008 and 2009 respectively, the

novelist Edna O’Brien, the poet Thomas Kinsella and playwright Brian

Friel were recipients of the medal, the highest honour which UCD can


The School of English, Drama and Film offers an extensive range of

courses at undergraduate level as well as eleven postgraduate degrees

in literature. The school also has a writer-in-residence and hosts the

Ireland Chair of Poetry, currently held by Michael Longley. An M.A.

degree in creative writing was introduced in 2006 and the celebrated

Irish novelist Edna O’Brien was appointed Adjunct Professor of Crea-

tive Writing.

Since 1988 the School of English, Drama and Film has run the Joyce

Summer School, one of the foremost gatherings in the Joycean

calendar, attracting scholars from all over the world. The summer

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65�school is held in Newman House, part of the University College Dublin

campus and used by James Joyce himself whilst an undergraduate.

Joycean scholars enjoy exploring his writing in the context of the city

which inspired and shaped it, and in the very room in which he worked.

The Gaiety School of Acting organises the Irish Theatre Summer

School, offering a unique opportunity to those wishing to learn about

Irish theatre and acting. Concentrating on four of Ireland’s leading play-

wrights, J.M. Synge, Sean O’Casey, Samuel Beckett and Brian Friel,

the summer school includes a programme of acting workshops and

seminars in which the historical and literary contexts of the writing are


The Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dún Laoghaire offers a

four-year undergraduate programme leading to a B.A. degree where

literary studies are a key feature. The recently established Centre for

Public Culture Studies also offers an M.A. degree. The college joins in

the celebration of Dublin’s literary history with its own annual James

Joyce Day.

St. Patrick’s, Drumcondra, is a college of Dublin City University. B.A

degrees taught there include literature and the college offers an M.A.

degree in children’s literature. Fighting Words, a scheme whereby

schoolchildren are encouraged and educated in creative writing, is a

new initiative set up by acclaimed Dublin writer Roddy Doyle in part-

nership with the college. This also provides opportunities for both

teacher-training staff and students to develop their skills. Literature is

taught at All Hallows College and the Mater Dei Institute. The Dublin

Business School also provides undergraduate programmes in jour-

nalism and fi lm script writing.

The importance of Dublin as a cultural destination is exemplifi ed by

U.S. universities who have established a presence in the city. Many

run courses for their students and faculty members with a strong

emphasis on Irish literature and culture. Boston College’s Dublin

base serves as a focal point for the university’s work in Ireland and

Europe. The University of Iowa (UNESCO City of Literature) offers an

Irish writing programme which will form the basis of future collabora-

tion. The American College Dublin, situated in one of Oscar Wilde’s

former homes, organises undergraduate programmes which combine

the traditions of both American and Irish educational systems. The

Keough Naughton Centre in Dublin provides students of the University

of Notre Dame with a programme of Irish Studies.

Support for the literary and publishing industry as well as training for

excellence in the technical side of these activities is well established

in Dublin. Within the Dublin Institute of Technology’s Department

of Printing and Communication, students can study lithographic

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66�printing, origination and print fi nishing as well as print management.

The college offers a B.A. degree in Visual Communication for those

seeking careers in graphic design, illustration and digital media design.

Many institutions, local colleges and schools offer evening classes,

the most advanced being University College Dublin’s Evening Degree

programme. This has been in operation for many years and offers a

valuable second chance to those who missed out on a college educa-

tion early in their lives. These are often amongst the university’s

highest achieving students and the university shows its commitment

to a climate of inclusion in education through its continuation.

For those with an interest in literature, but who do not wish to pursue

the subject in a formal way, a wide choice of evening courses is avail-

able, covering all genres, historical periods and critical approaches.

Others choose to learn about Dublin’s heritage and its famous literary

fi gures through the range of guided walks available. The city council’s

popular Walk and Talk programme draws large numbers and regu-

larly features literary themes. The James Joyce Centre offers guided

walking tours of Edwardian Dublin, especially those sites immortalised

in Joyce’s writing. Residents and visitors alike can choose from tours

including the Georgian Literary Walk, Literary and Historical Walk and

the famous Literary Pub Crawl. For those interested in Dublin’s gothic

tradition, the Dublin Ghost Bus Tour is available daily, introducing

readers to locations linked with Bram Stoker, Sheridan Le Fanu and

Charles Maturin – all internationally acclaimed writers in this genre.

Educational and literature-related institutions/courses are listed in

Appendix 7.

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Since the mid 1990s, over 100 nationalities have been drawn to

Ireland’s capital city, bringing with them new cultural and literary infl u-

ences which have been embraced with enthusiasm by Dubliners.

Signifi cant actions and outcomes have resulted, some of which


♦ Women Writers in the New Ireland (WWINI), an initiative

aimed at facilitating creative dialogue between women writers

from migrant and new communities.

♦ The New Faces New Voices programme of creative

writing workshops exploring the richness of cross-cultural

experience, organised by Dublin City Libraries and aimed at

Dublin residents whose fi rst language is not English.

♦ The establishment in 2000 of the Dublin based Metro Eireann,

a weekly multicultural newspaper. Roddy Doyle, one of

Dublin’s Man Booker prize winners, regularly contributes

stories about members of the city’s new immigrant


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68� ♦ The establishment by Dublin City Council of the Offi ce

for Integration which takes an active role in promoting the

participation of immigrant communities in the cultural life of

the city.

♦ The presentation to Dublin City Libraries of a prestigious

Metro Eireann Media & Multicultural Award (MAMA) for their

2008 Many Faces, Many Places inter-cultural programme

of activities for children, many of which had a strong literary


♦ The publication by iBbY Ireland of Changing Faces – Changing

Places, designed to help Irish and immigrant children under-

stand other cultures and to provide children of mixed cultural

backgrounds with a range of literature with which they can


♦ The founding of the Ireland-Poland Cultural Foundation, the

patron of which is Dublin-based poet Seamus Heaney, and

which represents one of the largest immigrant groups in the



The Dublin region as a whole is well served by bookshops, but a walk

through the city centre clearly shows that the heart of Dublin provides

a great array of bookshops of all kinds. Beginning on the north side

of the River Liffey at Chapters on Parnell Street via Eason & Son on

O’Connell Street, to the Winding Stair – crossing over the Halfpenny

Bridge to Connolly Books on Essex Street in the heart of Temple Bar

and on to Books Upstairs on College Green. Passing An Siopa Leabhar

in Harcourt Street, Hughes and Hughes in the St. Stephen’s Green

Shopping Centre, the Dublin Bookshop on Grafton Street, Dawson

Street with Murder Ink, Waterstones and Hodges Figgis – and fi nally to

the antiquarian and rare book dealers, Cathach Books on Duke Street,

Stokes in the Georges Street Arcade and De Búrca on Dawson Street –

all are indicative of the range of Dublin’s city centre’s bookshops which

tempt residents and visitors alike. Several charities, including Oxfam

have secondhand bookshops in the city and Dublin’s tradition of street

bookstalls is continued with Temple Bar’s weekend book market.

Readers can experience both the ambience of the older, more intimate

shops and the extensive selection of modern stores. Many Dublin

booksellers stock Irish language books as well as books in languages

other than English. Some of the bookshops have notable links with

writers and publishers and most work to develop strong relationships

with their customers, often hosting book signings, book launches and

programmes of readings by new and established authors.

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69�Dublin’s bookshop staff are invariably knowledgeable and helpful and

it is not unusual to fi nd that some of them are in fact budding writers.

John Boyne, author of The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas (an award-

winning and bestselling title), was a member of staff until recently at

Waterstones in Dawson Street.

Dublin’s art galleries, museums and libraries, including the National

Library of Ireland, the Chester Beatty Library, the National Gallery of

Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art also have in-house book-


The bi-monthly Dublin City Book Fair offers sales of old and new books

from a wide range of book dealers. Books are also a central part of

Antiques Fairs Ireland which organises events in several Dublin loca-

tions. Two large specialist book auctions dealing in rare and unusual

editions of books from all over the country are held annually in Dublin.

In addition there are several specialist bookshops, most with online

services, catering for the market in early editions of books, especially

from Irish authors.

The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom and Ireland repre-

sents over 95% of booksellers, providing a wide range of services

to its members, including up to the minute data, trade directories

and legal advice. It also organises a range of events and meetings

throughout the year.

Ireland has two national book distributors, Argosy and Eason & Son,

both of which are based in Dublin. Public libraries in Ireland will spend

a total of €13.7m on books in 2009 and four of the main public library

book suppliers are based in the city.

Bookshops, book fairs, etc are listed in Appendix 4.


The national media, much of which is based in Dublin, plays an active

role in the city’s literary life. They make an important contribution to

the vibrancy of that life – with their enthusiasm for literary matters

continually affording coverage to writers, poets, playwrights and all

sections of the literary community.

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70�The majority of mass circulation media include regular features on

literary matters; reviews, biographies of writers, interviews and news

of forthcoming publications and events. The literary pages of The Irish

Times, Irish Examiner, Sunday Business Post, Sunday Tribune, Sunday

Independent, Irish Independent and the Sunday Times are widely read

and are often the subject of discussion themselves as debates on

literary matters are conducted through their pages.

To mark the recent anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights, The Irish Times published a special supplement in which thirty

Irish writers were each given one article from the original declaration

and requested to submit a short creative piece in response. Nobel

Laureate, Seamus Heaney's poem From the Republic of Conscience

also accompanied the supplement. With innate perception he wrote:

“ Their sacred symbol is a stylized boat.

The sail is an ear, the mast a sloping pen,

the hull a mouth-shape, the keel an open eye.”

The Irish Independent newspaper recently launched a successful

series of book promotions offering handsome hardback copies of

leading Irish classics. Subsequent promotions also offered classics of

children’s literature and Lifetime Reads, a collection of modern clas-


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71�Journalists from national and local papers are regularly involved in

literary talks and discussions in the city. Local periodicals and jour-

nals also include sections on literary subjects with reviews and writer

interviews. Readership of national papers is high in the city and Dublin

has three local daily newspapers – the Evening Herald, Herald AM and

Metro, all of which include features and publicity relating to literary


RTÉ (Radio Teilifís Éireann), the national broadcaster, as well as local

Dublin radio stations, host a variety of literary programmes, ranging

from drama and poetry readings to interviews with writers, critics

and publishers. RTÉ has a weekly television programme dedicated to

cultural matters and often features Dublin’s literary life, in all its forms.

RTÉ’s weekly radio arts show is hosted by the poet and playwright

Vincent Woods and regularly features literary themes. Local radio

stations programme literary topics and one of these, Near FM, runs a

series called Novel Interculturalism which encourages listeners to read

and discuss books from other countries.

Literary awards centred in Dublin, including the International IMPAC

Dublin Literary Award, receive a great deal of coverage. Dublin’s

dedicated television channel, City Channel, also features literary

programmes, charting the calendar of literary events and broadcasting

information and features on the current award/festival or visiting writer.

National and local broadcasters, along with their media counterparts

in the press, are also active in sponsoring many literary awards and

competitions. RTÉ's P.J. O’Connor Award for radio drama, the Sunday

Tribune’s Hennessy New Irish Writing Award and The Irish Times

Poetry Now Award are several examples of this special relationship.

The combined effort of the media plays a key role in communicating

with Dublin’s readers and together they enthusiastically support the

city’s literary talent.


As befi ts a city with Dublin’s literary profi le, many of its streets carry

the names of illustrious writers. The city is also fi lled with fi ne literary

monuments, many of which take a traditionally sober form. Statues, for

example, grace the front lawns and squares of Trinity College Dublin,

where Edmund Burke and Oliver Goldsmith among others, are remem-

bered. Thomas Moore and Thomas Davis, in their Victorian splendour,

watch over College Green as does James Clarence Mangan in St.

Stephen's Green.

Other more playful commemorations exist – the quizzical expression

on the face of the statue of James Joyce in North Earl Street captures

the short-sighted genius’ interrogative gaze. A similarly informal fi gure

commemorates the poet Patrick Kavanagh, reposing in thought on

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72�a park bench along the Grand Canal, a favourite haunt of his in later

years. Merrion Square is also home to a recent statue of Oscar Wilde

languishing in a familiarly effete pose, offering passers-by a sardonic

smile. Three of Dublin’s most recent bridges spanning the River Liffey

have been named after James Joyce, playwright Sean O’Casey and

Samuel Beckett.

The Dublin Airport Authority has completed a major commemorative

project in the airport’s new departure lounge which features twelve

Irish writers in huge glass murals. The specially designed panels

include a portrait and a brief quotation from the writer’s work. The

featured writers are Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, George Bernard

Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Flann O’Brien, W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh,

Lady Gregory, Kate O’Brien, Máirtín Ó Cadhain and J. M. Synge. Irish

Ferries, a Dublin-based shipping company, has used Dublin writers

as the inspiration for naming three of its newest ships – the Jonathan

Swift, the Oscar Wilde, and the largest car ferry in the world – the


Other statues of Ireland’s great writers are placed around the city

centre and many of the former homes of Dublin’s writers now bear

offi cial heritage plaques in commemoration of their residency.

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May 2009 – the Calatrava designed Samuel Beckett bridge is fl oated upstream into

its position on the River Liffey.

© co


ht Jim




The extent of this section of the application is testament in itself to

Dublin’s eligibility for the UNESCO City of Literature designation. The

breadth and volume of literary activity in the city is vast for one of

its size, bearing witness to what is a genuine and long-established

connection between writers and their audiences.

While Dublin’s literary life is extensive, no cultural or artistic form can

exist and thrive in isolation. Dublin’s literary culture will benefi t from

joining a cultural network, the elements of which infl ect and inform

each other in productive interaction. Dublin’s literary arena is fortunate

in the variety and excellence of the city’s sister arts which comple-

ment its activities in many fruitful crossovers and collaborations. This

interdependence benefi ts all parties in Dublin’s wider cultural and crea-

tive climate.

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“ Faighim sracfhéachaint ar an Life amuigh

Seal gréine idir dhá chith....”

(I glance at the Liff ey outside

In the sun between showers....)

Lux Aeterna agus Dánta Eile

– Eoghan Ó Tuairisc,

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DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (77)


W hile literature is the dominant association when Dublin is

mentioned, a wide variety of other cultural activities are

also central to the city’s social, creative and economic

success. While the architecture of Dublin gives a strong sense of

history, its theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries

speak of an equally strong identity as a city of wide-ranging cultural


Temple Bar, Dublin’s riverside area, is a thriving hub of activity. Its

streets are home to art galleries, studios, theatres and bookshops as

well as the Irish Film Institute and the National Photographic Archive

(part of the National Library). The area has its own cultural centre

which acts as a focal point, coordinating the many events and festivals

taking place within and beyond its precincts.

Outside this area and throughout the city centre, Dublin boasts thea-

tres, galleries, museums, libraries, concert and pub venues, all of

which host a wide range of activities representing the arts. The cultural

life of the capital, however, does not end there; many areas of greater

Dublin have art galleries, theatre, music and dance venues, cinemas,

libraries and community centres, all making a valuable contribution to

the cultural and intellectual life of the city. Dublin has an ever-growing

calendar of cultural festivals which are held in various locations all over

the city and the region.

The city’s unique architectural mix complements its cultural life. Many

buildings of historical interest are used for artistic and cultural purposes.

While the major galleries and museums are housed in gracious 18th

century structures, many of Dublin’s smaller cultural venues are also

of architectural and historical interest. These spaces are shared by

Dubliners and visitors alike and their individual aesthetics add value

and charm to the cultural experience. Such spaces range from the

crypt of the medieval monastery at St. Mary’s Abbey, via Georgian and

Victorian venues to The Lighthouse, a new award-winning modernist

arthouse cinema in Smithfi eld.

Dublin is famous for its pubs, central to the cultural life of the city as

places where people meet, traditional music thrives and where poets

and writers launch their books and read their work. Many are used

for cultural gatherings where writers and audiences enjoy their often

historic surroundings, sharing the very spaces used by their literary

forebears, some of which have been immortalised in famous novels,

poems and plays.

Dublin is a city where the distinction between high and low art/culture

is somewhat blurred. While government and the city council work to

enhance social inclusion, their task is made easier by the appetite for

a range of cultural activities that already exists across class barriers.

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78�The intimacy of the city also fosters easy access for all sectors of the

community and there is a healthy diversity within audiences for all

cultural activities.


The map of Dublin’s cultural life is marked with several dedicated

cultural centres while others serve a variety of constituencies across

the cultural fi eld.

CityArts, a community arts organisation founded in 1973, currently runs

initiatives in the city committed to promoting access to, and participa-

tion in quality arts experiences. The new CityArts Centre opening in

2009 will become a point of engagement for diverse communities in

cultural exchange, practice and learning in the fi eld of collaborative

arts. Dublin’s communities, artists and writers will have access to the

centre and its archive – and future projects will be led from there.

The Ark, Europe’s fi rst custom-built children’s cultural centre, hosts

a range of high quality activities aimed at children, often provided

by children and always about children. Working with a diverse range

of artists, both national and international, this unique centre aims to

develop and promote inspirational and playful programmes for children

between 3 and 14 years of age.

Farmleigh, formerly the home of the Guinness family, now provides

hospitality for visiting Heads of State as well as a comprehensive

programme of cultural events. Literary, dramatic and storytelling

events are central, with many aimed at families and children. Outreach

programmes are also a feature of Farmleigh’s activities with several

dedicated to cultural connections – notably communication with Polish

writers and the Polish community in Dublin. Farmleigh also sponsors a

year-long residency for a creative writer.

Smaller establishments, not always named as such, effectively func-

tion as cultural centres – as hives of cultural activity for Dublin’s artists

and residents alike. The Teachers’ Club (Club na Múinteoirí), for

example, is located in a large house on one of Dublin’s fi nest Geor-

gian developments, Parnell Square, offering a home to a multiplicity of

cultural associations, clubs, groups, classes and workshops. Its nightly

range of activities, meetings and productions covers music, drama,

dancing, literature and storytelling.

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Festivals are a strong feature of the cultural calendar of Dublin and

occur throughout the year, adding vibrancy to the life of the city. The

growing list of Dublin’s festivals demonstrates the sheer diversity of

these events and the frequency with which they follow each other in a

steady stream of creative energy.

The Festival of World Cultures is Dublin’s biggest and is held annually

in Dún Laoghaire. Celebrating its 9th year in August 2009, 230,000

people attended its eclectic mix of events. Bringing music and the

performing arts from around the globe, it showcases every possible

performance activity from West African Griots and Japanese Geisha to

gravity defying pavement art.

The Dublin Fringe Festival, held in September each year, prides itself on

being avant-garde and includes music, dance, street theatre, puppetry,

visual arts, comedy and many late night ‘gigs’ that defy defi nition.

Echoing that lighter note, the city of Dublin plays host to the largest St.

Patrick’s Festival in the country. Celebrating the nation’s patron saint,

the city offers a week-long programme of events targeted mainly at

families and culminating in the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the

national holiday in March.

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80�The Heineken Green Energy Festival in Dublin Castle, a three-day

programme of popular music concerts in the open air, is held every year

on the May Public Holiday weekend. The Dublin City Soul Festival, in

association with IMRO, the Irish Music Rights Organisation, is held in

May and promotes new and established international soul talent. The

Street Performance World Championship takes place in June. Spon-

sored by AIB, one of Ireland’s leading banks, it is part of Dublin City

Council’s annual programme of summer events.

George Frederick Handel’s oratorio The Messiah was fi rst performed

in Dublin in 1742 and is celebrated in the Dublin Handel Festival. Dedi-

cated to celebrating the cultural riches of the 18th century, the festival

attracts local and international participants to its varied programme of

music, talks, walks and children’s events.

Ireland’s dual language status offers a rich inheritance to its citizens

and Irish traditional music is also admired and enjoyed worldwide.

Conducted mainly through the medium of the Irish language, An Feis

Ceoil (The Music Festival), is an annual event held in Dublin, which

attracts musicians, composers, vocalists and performers from the

entire island as well as many from the Irish diaspora. It is an event of

major signifi cance in the development of musical talent in Ireland and

holds over 180 competitions covering all ages and abilities.

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81�The Temple Bar Trad Festival – a week of traditional music and song,

with a range of shows and concerts as well as the Irish speciality, the

‘seisiún’ (an impromptu music session), also offers children’s activi-

ties including an interactive parade. Embracing the culture of the city’s

growing Chinese population, the Chinese New Year Festival, held in

Smithfi eld, a rejuvenated and re-developed area of the city, is family

orientated and includes everything from cookery workshops, music,

traditional dance and crafts.

Taken together, the number of individual fi lm festivals, many organ-

ised by, or in association with the Irish Film Institute, bears witness

to the central role of fi lm in Irish cultural life, as well as demonstrating

the high level of corporate sponsorship of the arts in Dublin. There

are many annual festivals and the number is growing. Chief amongst

these is the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, a ten-day feast

of national and international fi lms of all genres with over 130 screen-

ings. The festival also hosts several non-screening events including

talks, a library-based quiz and interviews with directors and producers.

The Martell French Film Festival aims to bring the best in contempo-

rary French fi lm to Dublin with a full programme of screenings, talks

and interviews. Continuing corporate sponsorship makes possible

the Paulaner German Film Festival and the Campo Viejo Spanish Film

Festival. These complement the Ukrainian Film Festival, Romanian Film

Festival and the Lights Out! National Film Festival for Young People,

all of which showcase contemporary and established talents within

their respective fi elds. The Stranger Than Fiction documentary festival

represents documentary fi lmmaking, while horror fi lm is served by the

annual Dublin Horrorthon Film Festival, held at Halloween each year.

Dublin also plays host to political and gender associated festivals, the

biggest of which is the annual GAZE: The Lesbian and Gay Festival

which shows short and feature length fi lms by lesbian and gay fi lm-


Cultural Events and Festivals are listed in Appendix 3.

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The National Museum of Ireland, built in the 19th century, houses an

impressive collection of Celtic antiquities as well as later artefacts

relating to Dublin’s heritage. An annexe to the museum is situated

to the west of the city centre in what was once the largest military

barracks in Europe, built in 1704. Now re-named Collins Barracks,

this part of the National Museum houses decorative arts and militaria

dating from the earliest times to the present.

The Natural History Museum, known to Dubliners as the ‘Dead Zoo’

is housed in another fi ne 19th century building. Currently undergoing

restoration, this museum exhibits an extensive collection of stuffed

animals and samples of marine life from Ireland and abroad including

a rhinoceros, an Indian elephant and a skeleton of the extinct Irish elk.

Dublin Castle was originally built as a fortifi cation for the Norman city of

Dublin although little of that construction remains. Most of the current

cluster of buildings date from the 18th century, when it was developed

and extended. Visitors can admire the extensive State Apartments

including the Throne Room. As well as functioning as a tourist attrac-

tion it is currently used as a conference facility and as a venue for

state ceremonial occasions. The Coach House is the location for the

Franco-Irish Literary Festival and is also used for music concerts, book

readings and launches.

Dublin is home to several museums of writers and writing. The Dublin

Writers’ Museum has permanent displays relating to Irish literature,

in all its forms, from the 10th century to the present day. The exhibits

include paintings, manuscripts, letters, rare editions and mementos of

many of Ireland’s famous writers. There are a number of temporary

exhibits and a lavishly decorated Gallery of Writers. The museum also

hosts regular readings and lectures, all of which are open to the public.

“ Th e Guinness Storehouse in the heart of the Guinness Brewery at

St James’ Gate off ers residents and visitors the opportunity to see

how the country’s favourite tipple is brewed.”

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83�Rare collections of Islamic manuscripts as well as Chinese, Japanese,

Indian and other oriental art are exhibited in the Chester Beatty Library,

situated in Dublin Castle. Papyri, including some of the earliest texts of

the Bible, other early Christian manuscripts, as well as rare books and

prints complete one of the richest collections of its kind in the world.

Created by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, the collection was bequeathed

by him in trust for the benefi t of the public.

The National Print Museum is housed in a soldiers’ chapel in the former

military barracks at Beggars’ Bush. It houses a unique collection of

implements, artefacts and machines once used in Ireland’s printing


Kilmainham Gaol, built in 1789 and restored in the 1960s, occupies

a hugely resonant place in Irish history and is now a very popular

museum. Many of the most prominent fi gures in the fi ght for Irish

independence, some of whom were writers and poets, were incar-

cerated there and it was the place in which the leaders of the Easter

Rising were executed.

The Guinness Storehouse in the heart of the brewery at St. James’

Gate offers visitors the opportunity to see how the country’s favourite

tipple is brewed. Croke Park, the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic

Association, the governing body for Irish national sports, also has

a museum where the history of the association and its illustrious

members are commemorated. The Irish police force, An Garda

Síochána (Guardians of the Peace), founded in 1923, has a museum

in Dublin Castle, containing photographs and documents outlining the

history of policing in Ireland.

Dublin’s Jewish community is commemorated in the Irish Jewish

Museum in Portobello, an area of the city immortalised by James

Joyce in his novel Ulysses. As Dublin’s most famous literary son,

Joyce is celebrated in the James Joyce Centre and the Martello Tower

at Sandycove. The playwright and Nobel laureate, George Bernard

Shaw was born and grew up in Synge Street and his former home is

also a dedicated museum.

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Dublin is home to the recently extended National Gallery of Ireland

where representative collections of Irish and European art are

displayed. The new Millennium Wing houses major temporary exhi-

bitions as well as having a fl oor dedicated to paintings from the Irish

schools of the 19th and 20th centuries.The gallery contains many very

fi ne examples from the French, Spanish, Northern European and

Italian schools as well as baroque works and an excellent collection

of portraiture. It hosts lectures, talks and readings as well as activities

for children.

Located in the centre of the city, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane,

managed by the city council, houses one of Ireland’s foremost collec-

tions of modern and contemporary art, with works ranging from

impressionist masterpieces, to those by leading national and inter-

national contemporary artists. The gallery stages large retrospective

exhibitions of Irish art as well as temporary exhibitions, some of

which aim to create a dialogue between works of disparate periods. It

recently gained worldwide acclaim with the acquisition of the contents

of Francis Bacon’s London studio, reconstructed to mirror its original

state. Educational courses, an outreach programme for schools and

community groups and a popular Sunday lecture series are also


The Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), founded in 1823, is one of the

largest exhibition spaces in the city, displaying national and interna-

tional works of art. A feature of the academy’s links with the artistic

community is its annual summer show, which invites contributions

from artists countrywide. Many individual awards and prizes associ-

ated with the RHA are sponsored by the private sector.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is housed in the Royal

Hospital Kilmainham, an extensive 17th century building, styled on

Les Invalides in Paris. Situated to the west of the city centre, IMMA

houses an impressive collection of Irish and international art. Works

from the permanent collection are displayed on a rotating basis

alongside visiting international exhibitions. The gallery has events for

children, workshops and lecture series as well as offering residencies

to visiting and local artists. The Douglas Hyde Gallery, located in Trinity

College, has hosted temporary exhibitions of paintings and sculpture

from international and national artists since the 1970s. The Temple Bar

area is home to the National Photographic Archive (part of the National

Library) and the Temple Bar Galleries and Studios.

Since the 1990s, Irish art has enjoyed a period of fresh interest and

investment and Dublin’s artists have seen a period of increased

productivity and acclaim. Dublin now has a great number of small,

privately owned art galleries throughout the city. Most are clustered

around the south side of the city centre, extending westwards to the

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (85)

85�area around the National College of Art and Design in Thomas Street.

Beyond the city centre, Dún Laoghaire, Dalkey and Clontarf also have

galleries catering for local and national artists.

Museums and Galleries are listed in Appendix 5.

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It has often been claimed that the street life of Dublin has a certain

theatricality. It is therefore no surprise to learn that the theatre is one of

Dublin’s most important cultural arenas and one in which Irish writers,

actors and directors excel. Traditionally, Irish theatre has been closely

linked to Irish history and politics – a fact that endears the theatrical

world to Irish people. Ireland has also produced a disproportionate

number of world-class playwrights and continues to see them recog-

nised worldwide.

This prominence began in the 17th and 18th centuries with George

Farquhar, Oliver Goldsmith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan gaining

international acclaim. Their success was followed by an even more

illustrious group of playwrights including Dion Boucicault, Oscar Wilde,

W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, J. M. Synge, Sean O’Casey, and

Nobel Laureate, Samuel Beckett. More recently, Dublin-based play-

wrights Frank McGuinness, Marina Carr, and Conor McPherson have

received worldwide acclaim.

The Dublin Theatre Festival, Europe’s oldest specialist festival, runs

for several weeks each October. It stages major Irish and international

theatrical productions, hosting works by established playwrights,

whilst also premiering new plays.

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87�The Abbey Theatre contains two performance spaces, the main audi-

torium and the Peaco*ck Theatre. The Abbey, opened in 1904 by the

poet and dramatist W. B. Yeats and the writer and folklorist, Lady

Augusta Gregory, is held in special esteem by Dubliners. A central

part of Ireland’s cultural revival at the turn of the 20th century, the

Abbey premiered many of the plays of Sean O’Casey, J.M. Synge and

Brendan Behan and frequently presents revivals of their work. Enjoying

a reputation as a major player in world theatre, it is committed to the

promotion and development of new Irish plays and the creation of a

repertoire of Irish dramatic literature as well as staging masterworks

from around the world. The Peaco*ck is dedicated primarily to the pres-

entation of new plays and contemporary classic drama.

The Gate Theatre was established in 1928, offering Dublin audiences

their fi rst experience of European and avant-garde American theatre.

Actors such as Orson Welles and James Mason began their careers

here. The Gate features frequent festivals celebrating the work of

individual playwrights including Brian Friel, Harold Pinter and Samuel

Beckett. The theatre attracts many fi ne European and American

stars of the stage and continues to offer a stimulating and inclusive


Established in 1967, the Project Arts Centre has had an eventful

history, mirroring the political and cultural trends in Ireland over the

years. This evolution saw it develop from an artist-led co-operative to

its current form as a full-time company, offering an alternative centre

for the performing and visual arts. Some of Ireland’s leading directors

have showcased their work here and international fi lm stars Gabriel

Byrne and Liam Neeson developed their acting skills on its stage.

Audiences for popular productions, musical theatre and variety shows

are catered for by the Gaiety Theatre, one of Dublin’s oldest and fi nest.

This is also the venue for touring opera performances, both national

and international, including twice yearly seasons from Opera Ireland,

Ireland’s leading company.

The Olympia, a landmark Victorian building in the heart of the city,

offers a range of productions including musical theatre, comedy and

touring international musicians. Many top American and European

artists visit regularly and it is an important and much loved venue for

Dubliners. The Tivoli Theatre, another city centre venue, caters for a

similar audience.

The Grand Canal Theatre, due for completion in 2010, will house touring

performances from ballet to opera and family shows. Designed by the

Liebeskind Studios, it will be an iconic landmark in Dublin’s Docklands.

The Ark, a cultural centre dedicated to children, offers special drama

workshops and productions for families. The Café Theatre in Bewley’s

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88�Oriental Cafe in Grafton Street is an intimate and atmospheric space

which is a valuable part of Dublin’s theatre world specialising in lunch-

time drama, short plays, monologues and shows from all genres.

To celebrate its quatercentenary Trinity College Dublin opened the

Samuel Beckett Theatre in 1992. During term time, it showcases

productions from the university’s School of Drama. It also hosts some

of the most prestigious national and international dance and theatre


While the centre of Dublin offers a wide range of theatrical produc-

tions designed to meet the needs and tastes of all sections of the

community, the greater Dublin area is also home to many theatres,

some of which are recent additions, offering opportunities and access

to local communities. These include the Axis Theatre, Ballymun; the

Civic Theatre, Tallaght; Draíocht in Blanchardstown; the Mill Theatre,

Dundrum; the Helix in Glasnevin, and the Pavilion Theatre in Dún


Theatres and Performance Venues are listed in Appendix 8.

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Dublin offers a variety of events and venues for music enthusiasts,

students and practitioners, and has produced many distinguished

singers and musicians over the years. The city itself has traditionally

been celebrated in its own musical form, the Dublin Street Song, of

which there are thousands, dating back to the 17th century. Dublin

street songs are usually unaccompanied and most are ballads of Dublin

life whose Hiberno-English lyrics refl ect the humour, wit and sarcasm

of native Dubliners. This local musical tradition continues today and

examples can be found in pubs and clubs all over the city.

Established in Dublin in 1987, the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA)

is a national reference archive and resource centre for the traditional

song, instrumental music and dance of Ireland. A public facility which

is open to anyone with an interest in Irish traditional music, the archive

promotes public education in Irish traditional music through its own

activities and through partnerships with others.

Folk music features in concerts, individual shows and, most promi-

nently, in Dublin’s many clubs and pubs. Music sessions can be

scheduled but are also often impromptu and inclusive. The Brazen

Head, Dublin’s oldest pub; O’Donoghues (where Dublin’s most famous

folk music group, the Dubliners, began their career); The Cobblestone

and Whelan’s Bar are but a few of the city centre music pubs that

regularly attract large audiences.

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90�The Temple Bar Music Centre and the Sugar Club are two of Dublin’s

established music venues; both offer jazz, blues, swing and world

music throughout the year. The Coach House in Dublin Castle is home

to jazz, traditional Irish music and classical concerts organised through

the Music Network organisation.

Classical and light classical music attract large audiences. Handel’s

Messiah was fi rst premiered in the city in the 18th century and Dublin’s

cathedrals have a long tradition of excellence in church music. Other

long-established choral groups and musical societies regularly stage

performances in the capital’s many venues.

The central venue for classical music concerts is the National Concert

Hall, a 19th century exhibition space redesigned and acoustically

adapted in the 1980s. Home to the National Symphony Orchestra,

it provides a range of classical concerts throughout the year. The

National Concert Hall’s varied programme also includes jazz, opera,

chamber music and some traditional music concerts.

Opera Ireland, the state funded opera company, stages two seasons

of traditional and innovative opera at the Gaiety Theatre. Visiting opera

companies sometimes perform in the Royal Dublin Society, another

important venue for classical music, recently included in the Dublin

Theatre Festival’s list of spaces for international theatre productions.

Dublin City Council hosts highly popular open-air opera performances

during the summer months.

O2, the recently redeveloped venue in Docklands, hosts large-scale

popular music concerts with international artists playing to thousands

of fans. Since the rise of pop and rock music in Europe in the 1960s,

Dublin has enthusiastically embraced the genre, producing many

artists who have gone on to worldwide acclaim; U2, Sir Bob Geldof

and the Boomtown Rats, Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy, Van Morrison,

Rory Gallagher and Sinéad O’Connor, to name but a few.

Since the 1990s, Dublin’s hip-hop, rap, garage music and blues scene

has grown, aided by the infl ux of new residents from abroad. The

cosmopolitan nature of the city is refl ected in the range of modern

music which attracts large audiences to the many clubs and venues,

including Vicar Street, the Village, the Pod and Tripod. The Temple Bar

Music Centre also hosts regular gigs for fans of all of these genres.

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91�Comprehensive listings for music events are available in Dublin’s lively

music press. Hotpress is a bi-monthly newspaper covering the rock

and traditional music scenes while The Dublin Event Guide (online

only), Totally Dublin and The Irish Times’ The Ticket include listings for

all music venues in the city.

Dubliners show an abiding interest in all types of music and its main

streets, laneways and small city enclaves echo with the sounds of

an army of buskers – often a melancholic Irish harp competes with a

Slovak quintet, a Mexican pipe ensemble, a traditional balladeer or one

of the many other musicians or groups eager to entertain the city.

Performance venues are listed in Appendix 8.


Cinema attendance is high and is still a feature of Dublin’s social life,

nothwithstanding the popularity of DVD and video technology. As well

as the many multi-screen cinemas in the city which run programmes

of mass market fi lms, the Irish Film Institute (IFI) in Temple Bar offers

a varied programme celebrating world cinema – as well as showcasing

the work of Irish fi lmmakers across all genres. As one of Dublin’s most

popular venues, it is a central contributor to the cultural life of Dublin.

In its mission to make fi lm accessible, the IFI offers several sched-

uled viewings to targeted sections of the community. Its For Crying

Out Loud session, for example, caters for parents with young babies,

while Strawberry Fields is aimed at the over 50s. In addition, the IFI

also runs special screenings of fi lms catering for young people, in the

Lights Out! festival.

Situated in the centre of Temple Bar, the IFI is bordered by Meeting

House Square which is used as an open-air venue for free public screen-

ings in the summer months. The Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfi eld,

formerly the city’s livestock market area which has been redeveloped

in recent years, has a varied programme of mainstream, independent

and art-house fi lms refl ecting the area’s diversity.

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The riches that accrued to Ireland during its recent period of unprec-

edented economic growth were not merely fi nancial, but were also

evident in the cultural arena. Ireland’s industrious, ambitious and

youthful society added to its already impressive achievements – and

Dublin city, in particular, benefi ts from the energy and talent which has

fl ourished ever since.

The profi le of Dublin delineated in this application is one in which

culture, and especially literature, has a unique position offering a well-

deserved claim to the designation sought. While the rich cultural life of

the city already attracts a great number of visitors, there is scope for

further expansion. Dublin is eager to pursue this potential and to share

its creative energy with others in future cultural exchanges.

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“ Th e tide abandoned riverbed is silty, lays

bare an expanse beneath bridges...”

Ormond Quay

– Tomas Venclova

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U nder the defi nition put forward by delegates at the 2008

UNESCO Creative Cities Network meeting in Santa Fé, Dublin

qualifi es as a Creative City, one that offers visitors a unique

connection, defi ned as the desirable end for cultural tourism. The city

offers opportunities for “an educational, emotional, social and partici-

pative interaction with the place, its living culture and the people who

live there”.

Dublin is well positioned to enhance and expand the objectives of

UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. Designation will offer opportuni-

ties for the city to exchange literary experiences and traditions with

others, to the mutual benefi t of all. The city has demonstrated consid-

erable entrepreneurial and creative skills in recent decades and has

been quick to take advantage of national and global opportunities in

business, fi nance, education and cultural initiatives. Dublin’s open-

ness to the world is further evident in the leading role it plays within

the international OPENCities network, the Eurocities network and the

Union of Capital Cities of Europe.

Dublin is ready to share its unique literary qualities with existing and

future members of the network and to itself learn from the special

attributes and initiatives of other members.

Dublin will:

♦ Develop active programmes of mentoring and international

cultural exchange. For example, the Ireland Literature

Exchange bursary scheme for translators will concentrate on

India, China and Japan in 2010; under Dublin City Council’s

Global Hands scheme friendship and cooperation agreements

with strong cultural and literary work objectives have been

signed with San Jose, Barcelona, Liverpool, Cracow, St.

Petersburg, Moscow and Nairobi, and are under discussion

with Lusaka, Dar Es Salaam and the Comoros Islands. iBby

Ireland has twinned with iBby Zimbabwe and will continue

to work on cooperative projects in the area of children’s


♦ Include a UNESCO City of Literature dimension in the

innovative CitiesLinked web portal established by Dublin to

promote online dialogue between cities, their artists, writers,

academics, businesses and citizens.

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (98)

98� ♦ Use existing and future third level education links to promote

cities of literature worldwide. A memo of understanding

has been signed between Trinity College Dublin and the

University of Melbourne; literary links between Dublin

universities and their counterparts in Iowa City, Tokyo and

Kyoto are also proposed.

♦ Use the power of the existing International IMPAC Dublin

Literary Award network of over 150 cities, specifi cally

targeting those in developing countries, in order to maximise

the potential of the UNESCO Creative Cities brand.

♦ Use the 2012 designation as European Capital of Science to

ensure that links between science and literature are explored

and highlighted, emphasising the importance of creativity

as a stimulus to innovation and research in the sciences and


♦ Support emerging creative talent, exploiting the linkage

between city authorities, business and higher education,

through the innovative Creative D project, co-founded

by Dublin City Council and supported by the European

Commission. The project focuses on the promotion of

creativity in the arts, technology and literature and the

development of business potential in these fi elds.

♦ Develop the city’s cultural infrastructure: by establishing a

new City Library of the 21st century; by exploring the potential

for the creation of a new Museum of Literature, building on

existing infrastructure and by relocating the Abbey Theatre to

a prime city centre site, underlining the value of literary culture

for citizens and visitors alike.

♦ Establish an exhibition of art and literature based on the

Venice Biennale concept at the Irish Museum of Modern Art


♦ Develop its Creative Alliance as a driving force for its economy

in order to maximise synergies between government

agencies, local government, business, university leaders and

the creative industries.

♦ Establish the Long Room Hub Humanities Research

Institute at Trinity College, facilitating research through the

full exploitation of the college’s outstanding collections –

and creating a community of scholars across a range of


♦ Build and strengthen partnerships in the literary and cultural

tourism sectors, maximising resources, expertise and


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99� ♦ Work with other network member cities in the development

of Project Portal, the international online information source

for cultural activity.

Dublin is poised to play a leading role in the international promotion

of literature as a culturally unifying force through membership of the

UNESCO Creative Cities Network. This application provides ample

evidence of Dublin’s credentials as a city where cultural activity and,

in particular, literary activity fl ourishes. The city’s unique literary

heritage, its record as a consistent producer of original and innovative

writing – and its current position as the home of some of the western

world’s most cherished contemporary writers testify to its identity as

a cultural city with a deep reservoir of literary talent, creative energy –

and a desire to reach out to the expanding creative cities network and


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“ But the Angelus Bell o’er the Liff ey’s swell

rang out through the foggy dew.”

The Foggy Dew

– Peadar Kearney

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DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (103)



♦ Aosdána www.aosdana.artscouncil.ie

♦ Children’s Books Ireland www.childrensbooksireland.com

♦ Create www.create-ireland.ie

♦ Drama League of Ireland www.dli.ie

♦ iBbY (International Board on Books for Young People)


♦ Illustrators’ Guild of Ireland www.illustratorsireland.com

♦ IntroArt www.youth.ie/members/introart

♦ Ireland-Poland Cultural Foundation www.irelandpoland.org

♦ The Irish Girls www.writeon-irishgirls.com

♦ Irish PEN www.irishpen.com

♦ Irish Playwrights’ & Screenwriters’ Guild www.script.ie

♦ Irish Society for the Study of Children’s Literature


♦ Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association


♦ Irish Writers’ Union www.ireland-writers.com

♦ The Library Association of Ireland (LAI)


♦ National Association for Youth Drama www.youthdrama.ie

♦ Poetry Ireland www.poetryireland.ie

♦ Reading Association of Ireland www.reading.ie

♦ School Library Association www.slari.ie/index.htm

♦ Scríobhneoirí Úra na Gaeilge


♦ SPI (Society of Publishers in Ireland) www.the-spi.com

♦ WWINC ( Women Writers in Migrant and New Communities

Network) www.wwinc.wordpress.com

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (104)

104� ♦ Foras na Gaeilge www.gaeilge.ie

♦ Ireland Literature Exchange (ILE) www.irelandliterature.com

♦ The Irish Writers’ Centre www.writerscentre.ie

♦ Library Council / An Chomhairle Leabharlanna


♦ Poetry Ireland www.poetryireland.ie



♦ Aosdána www.aosdana.artscouncil.ie

♦ The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon www.artscouncil.ie

♦ Clár na Leabhar Gaeilge www.leabhar.ie

♦ Culture Ireland www.cultureireland.gov.ie

♦ Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism


♦ Department of Education & Science www.education.ie

♦ Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local

Government www.environ.ie

♦ Dublin City Council www.dublincity.ie

♦ Dublin Tourism www.visitdublin.com

♦ Fáilte Ireland www.failteireland.com and


DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (105)




♦ Archbishop Marsh’s Library www.marshlibrary.ie

♦ Bealtaine www.bealtaine.com

♦ Bloomsweek www.jamesjoyce.ie

♦ Books 2009 www.bookevents.ie

♦ Campo Viejo Spanish Film Festival www.irishfi lm.ie

♦ Chester Beatty Library www.cbl.ie

♦ Children’s Book Festival www.childrensbooksireland.com

♦ Chinese New Year Festival www.dublin.ie/arts-culture/


♦ Dublin Book Festival www.dublinbookfestival.com

♦ Dublin City Soul Festival www.dublincitysoulfestival.ie

♦ Dublin Fringe Festival www.fringefest.com

♦ Dublin Gay Theatre Festival www.gaytheatre.ie

♦ Dublin Ghost Bus www.dublinsightseeing.ie/ghostBus.aspx

♦ Dublin Handel Festival www.templebar.ie

♦ Dublin Horrorthon Film Festival www.horrorthon.com

♦ Dublin: One City, One Book www.dublinonecityonebook.ie

♦ Dublin’s Rock’n Roll, Writers’ Bus Tour, Literary & Historical

Walk, Literary Georgian Walk, Oscar Wilde Walking Tour,


♦ Dublin Theatre Festival www.dublintheatrefestival.com

♦ Dublin Writers’ Festival www.dublinwritersfestival.com

♦ Dublin Writers’ Museum www.writersmuseum.com

♦ Farmleigh www.farmleigh.ie

♦ An Feis Ceoil www.feisceoil.ie

♦ Festival of World Cultures www.festivalofworldcultures.com

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (106)

106� ♦ Franco-Irish Literary Festival


♦ GAZE: the Lesbian and Gay Festival www.gaze.ie

♦ Heineken Green Energy Festival www.visitdublin.com/events

♦ The James Joyce Centre www.jamesjoyce.ie

♦ Jameson Dublin International Film Festival www.dubliniff.com

♦ Lights Out! Film Festival www.lightsout.ie

♦ Literary Pub Crawl www.dublinpubcrawl.com

♦ Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival www.mountainstosea.ie

♦ National Library www.nli.ie

♦ National Print Museum www.nationalprintmuseum.ie

♦ Martell French Film Festival www.irishfi lm.ie

♦ Paulaner German Film Festival www.irishfi lm.ie

♦ Poetry Now Festival www.poetrynow.ie

♦ The Project Arts Centre www.projectartscentre.ie

♦ Seachtain na Gaeilge (Irish Language Week) www.snag.ie

♦ Shaw Birthplace www.visitdublin.com

♦ St. Patrick’s Festival www.stpatricksfestival.ie

♦ Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Festival

www.irishfi lm.ie

♦ Street Performance World Championship www.spwc.ie

♦ Temple Bar Trad Festival www.templebartrad.com

♦ Trinity College Dublin www.tcd.ie

♦ Ukranian Film Festival www.irishfi lm.ie

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (107)




♦ A & A Farmar www.aafarmar.ie

♦ ÁIS www.gaeilge.ie

♦ Anvil Books [emailprotected]

♦ Arlen House www.arlenhouse.ie

♦ Ashfi eld Press www.ashfi eldpress.com

♦ Blackhall Publishing www.blackhallpublishing.com

♦ Boole Press www.boolepress.com

♦ Carysfort Press www.carysfortpress.com

♦ Celtic Publications www.celticpublications.com

♦ Childnames.net www.childnames.net

♦ Church of Ireland Publishing (no website)

♦ Cois Life Teoranta www.coislife.ie

♦ Coisceim www.coisceim.ie

♦ The Columba Press www.columba.ie

♦ Currach Press www.currach.ie

♦ Dedalus Press www.dedaluspress.com

♦ D.I.A.S. School of Celtic Studies www.celt.dias.ie

♦ Dublin City Public Libraries www.dublincitypubliclibraries.ie

♦ Educational Company of Ireland www.edco.ie

♦ Fallon, CJ www.cjfallon.ie

♦ Field Day Publications (no website)

♦ Flyleaf Press www.fl yleaf.ie

♦ Folens www.folens.ie

♦ Four Courts Press www.four-courts-press.ie

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (108)

108� ♦ Geography Publications www.geographypublications.com

♦ Gill and Macmillan www.gillmacmillan.ie

♦ Government Publications www.opw.ie

♦ An Gúm www.gaeilge.ie

♦ Hachette Ireland www.hachette.ie

♦ Institute of Public Administration www.ipa.ie

♦ Irish Academic Press www.iap.ie

♦ Liberties Press www.libertiespress.com

♦ Liffey Press www.theliffeypress.com

♦ Lilliput Press www.lilliputpress.ie

♦ Mentor Books www.mentorbooks.ie

♦ The National Gallery of Ireland www.nationalgallery.ie

♦ The National Library of Ireland www.nli.ie

♦ New Island Books www.newisland.ie

♦ Nonesuch Publishing www.nonsuchireland.com

♦ O’Brien Press www.obrien.ie

♦ Ordnance Survey of Ireland www.osi.ie

♦ Penguin Ireland www.penguin.ie

♦ Poolbeg Press www.poolbeg.com

♦ Publishing Ireland www.publishingireland.com

♦ Puffi n Ireland www.penguin.ie

♦ Royal Irish Academy www.ria.ie

♦ SPI (Society of Publishers in Ireland) www.the-spi.com

♦ Stinging Fly Press www.stingingfl y.org

♦ UCD Press www.ucdpress.ie

♦ Veritas www.veritas.ie

♦ The Woodfi eld Press www.woodfi eld-press.com

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (109)


♦ Alan Hannas Bookshop, Lr. Rathmines Road

♦ A P C K, St Ann’s Bookshop, Dawson Street

♦ Blanchardstown Bookstore, Blanchardstown

♦ Book Bargains, Middle Abbey Street

♦ Bookmart, Talbot Street

♦ Booksellers Association (Irish Branch)


♦ Books Unlimited, Tallaght

♦ Books Upstairs, College Green & Omni Park, Santry

♦ Book World, Clondalkin

♦ Campus Bookshop, UCD

♦ Cathedral Books, Sackville Place

♦ Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle

♦ Connolly Books, Essex Street

♦ De Búrca, Dawson Streets & Blackrock

♦ Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Parnell Square

♦ Dublin Writers’ Museum, Parnell Square

♦ Dubray Books, Grafton Street,

Swan Shopping Centre & Stillorgan

♦ Eason’s, (10 Branches)

♦ Exchange Bookshop, Dalkey

♦ Forbidden Planet, Crampton Quay

♦ Genealogy Bookshop, Nassau Street

♦ Hampton Books, Morehampton Road

♦ Hodges Figgis, Dawson Street

♦ Hughes & Hughes, (7 Branches)

♦ Murder Ink, Dawson Street

♦ National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (110)

110� ♦ National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street

♦ National Museum of Ireland, Kildare Street & Collins Barracks

♦ Open Book Company, Sutton

♦ Rathgar Bookshop, Rathgar

♦ Rathmines Bookshop & Bookcube Art Gallery

♦ Readers Bookshop, Dún Laoghaire

♦ Reads, Nassau Street

♦ Royal Kilmainham Bookshop Ltd., IMMA

♦ Scholar Book Shop, Swords

♦ An Siopa Leabhar, Harcourt Street

♦ Veritas, Lr. Abbey Street

♦ Village Books, Malahide

♦ Waterstones, Dawson Street & Jervis Centre

♦ Winding Stair, Lr. Ormond Quay

♦ Wise Owl, (6 Branches)


♦ Argosy www.argosybooks.ie

♦ Eason’s Wholesale www.eason.ie


♦ Antiques Fairs Ireland www.antiquesfairsireland.com

♦ Dublin City Book Fair www.dublincitybookfair.com

♦ Temple Bar Book Market www.templebar.ie


♦ Antiquarian Bookcrafts (no web address)

♦ Bennett & Sons (no web address)

♦ Duffy Book Binders (no web address)

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (111)


♦ Font International Literary & Writing Centre


♦ Jonathan Williams Literary Agency (no web address)

♦ The Lisa Richards Agency www.lisarichards.ie

♦ Marianne Gunne-O’Connor [emailprotected]

♦ Ruth Cunney Agency [emailprotected]

♦ Seven Towers Agency www.seventowers.ie

♦ Walsh Communications www.walshcommunications.ie


♦ Books Ireland http://islandireland.com/booksireland/

♦ Comhar (no web address)

♦ Cyphers www.cyphersmagazine.org

♦ The Dublin James Joyce Journal www.nli.ie; www.ucd.ie

♦ The Dublin Review www.thedublinreview.com

♦ Dublin Review of Books (online) www.drb.ie

♦ The Dubliner www.thedubliner.ie

♦ Éigse www.nui.ie/eigse

♦ The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies


♦ Irish Theatre Magazine www.irishtheatremagazine.ie

♦ The Irish University review www.irishuniversityreview.ie

♦ An Léitheoir (no web address)

♦ Poetry Ireland Review www.poetryireland.ie

♦ Some Blind Alleys (online) www.someblindalleys.com

♦ Stinging Fly www.stingingfl y.org

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (112)



♦ Archbishop Marsh’s Library www.marshlibrary.ie

♦ Chester Beatty Library www.cbl.ie

♦ CityArts www.cityarts.ie

♦ Douglas Hyde Gallery www.douglashydegallery.com

♦ Dublin Castle www.dublincastle.ie

♦ The Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane www.hughlane.ie

♦ Dublin City Libraries and Archives


♦ Dublin Writers’ Museum www.writersmuseum.com

♦ Farmleigh www.farmleigh.ie

♦ Gaelic Athletic Association Museum (GAA)


♦ Garda Siochána Museum


♦ Guinness Storehouse www.guinness-storehouse.com

♦ Irish Jewish Museum www.jewishireland.org/museum.html

♦ Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) www.imma.ie

♦ Irish Traditional Music Archive www.itma.ie

♦ James Joyce Tower www.visitdublin.com

♦ Kilmainham Gaol www.visitdublin.com

♦ National Archives www.nationalarchives.ie

♦ National Gallery of Ireland www.nationalgallery.ie

♦ Natural History Museum www.museum.ie

♦ National Library www.nli.ie

♦ National Museum of Ireland www.museum.ie

♦ National Photographic Archive www.nli.ie

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (113)

113� ♦ National Print Museum www.nationalprintmuseum.ie

♦ Royal Hibernian Academy www.royalhibernianacademy.com

♦ Royal Irish Academy www.ria.ie

♦ Shaw House www.visitdublin.com

♦ Temple Bar Galleries www.templebargallery.com

♦ Trinity College Library www.tcd.ie/library



♦ American Ireland Fund Literary Award www.irlfunds.org

♦ Biennial Award for an Outstanding Thesis on Reading

and Literacy (RAI) www.reading.ie/bookAwards

♦ Bisto Book of the Year www.childrensbooksireland.com

♦ Business to Arts www.businesstoarts.ie

♦ Davy Byrnes Irish Writing Award www.davybyrnesaward.org

♦ Francis MacManus Awards


♦ Hennessy/Sunday Tribune New Irish Writing Awards

www.tribune.ie (no dedicated website)

♦ IMRAM www.poetryireland.ie/whats-on/imram.html

♦ International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award


DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (114)

114� ♦ Irish Book Awards www.irishbookawards.ie

♦ Irish PEN/A.T. Cross Achievement in Literature


♦ The Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards

www.irishtimes.com (no dedicated website)

♦ The Irish Times Poetry Now Award


♦ Oireachtas Literary Awards www.antoireachtas.ie

♦ P.J. O’Connor Awards www.rte.ie/radio1/pjoconnorawards

♦ Poetry Aloud Poetry Speaking Competition www.nli.ie

♦ RAI Children’s Book Award www.reading.ie/bookAwards

♦ The Rooney Prize www.tcd.ie/OWC

♦ Rupert and Eithne Strong Award


♦ Schools Against Racism Competition






♦ All Hallows College www.allhallows.ie

♦ Alliance Française www.alliance-francaise.ie

♦ American College www.amcd.ie

♦ Boston College Centre for Irish Programmes


♦ Dublin Business School www.dbs.ie

♦ Dublin City University www.dcu.ie

♦ Dublin Institute of Technology www.dit.ie

♦ Dublin Writers’ Workshop online


DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (115)

115� ♦ Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design& Technology (IADT)


♦ Gaiety School of Acting www.gaietyschool.com

♦ Goëthe-Institut Ireland www.goethe.de/ins/ie/dub

♦ Inchicore College of Further Education


♦ Instituto Cervantes www.dublin.cervantes.es

♦ Instituto Italiano di Dublino


♦ Ireland-Poland Cultural Foundation www.irelandpoland.org

♦ Irish Theatre Summer School www.gaietyschool.com

♦ Islam Cultural Centre www.islamireland.ie

♦ The James Joyce Annual Summer School


♦ Keough-Notre Dame Centre of Irish Studies


♦ Mater Dei Institute www.materdei.ie

♦ Reading Centre @ Church of Ireland College of Education


♦ St. Patrick’s College/Dublin City University www.spd.dcu.ie

♦ Trinity College Dublin www.tcd.ie

♦ University College Dublin www.ucd.ie

♦ University of Iowa http://international.uiowa.edu/study-abroad

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (116)


♦ The Mill Theatre www.milltheatre.com

♦ National Concert Hall www.nch.ie

♦ Olympia Theatre (no web address)

♦ Pavilion Theatre www.paviliontheatre.ie

♦ The Peaco*ck Theatre www.abbeytheatre.ie

♦ The O2 www.theo2.ie

♦ Project Arts Centre www.project.ie

♦ Samuel Beckett Theatre


♦ The Tivoli Theatre www.tivoli.ie

♦ Vicar Street www.vicarstreet.com



♦ Abbey Theatre (The National Theatre)


♦ The Ark www.ark.ie

♦ Bewley’s Cafe Theatre www.bewleyscafetheatre.com

♦ Civic Theatre, Tallaght www.civictheatre.ie

♦ Draíocht, Blanchardstown www.draiocht.ie

♦ Focus Theatre www.focustheatre.ie

♦ Gaiety Theatre www.gaietytheatre.ie

♦ Gate Theatre www.gate-theatre.ie

♦ GCS Theatre www.ddda.ie

♦ The Helix www.thehelix.ie

♦ Liberty Hall www.libertyhall.ie

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (117)


From ‘Dublin’ in Collected Poems by Louis MacNeice, Faber and Faber

From ‘Baggot Street Deserta’ in A Dublin Documentary by Thomas

Kinsella. The O’Brien Press Ltd, Dublin, Copyright Thomas Kinsella.

Reproduced by permission of The O’Brien Press Ltd., Dublin

From They Came On The High Seas. Unpublished poem by Jak Farrell,

Monkstown Educate Together School. Written for the Pushkin Prize,


From Lux Aeterna agus Dánta Eile by Eoghan Ó Tuairisc. Cois Life,

Baile Átha Cliath 2000

From ‘Ormond Quay’ in The Junction: Selected Poems by Tomas

Venclova (translated by Ellen Hinsey). Bloodaxe Books, 2008

Photograph page 63 Tom Lawlor

Photograph page 73 Jim Colgan

Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain

permission for the use of copyrighted material. The publishers apolo-

gise for any errors or omissions.

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DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (119)

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (120)

DUBLIN UNESCO - Dublin City of Literature - [PDF Document] (2024)


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