Dublin, Ireland, could mean different things to different people. The vibrant city is home to over 1000 pubs and bars and the birthplace of the world-famous Guinness stout, drawing in tourists and locals who love the nightlife, drinking and socializing. On the other hand, art, history, and anthropology buffs are fascinated with Dublin’s vast array of national museums, art galleries, and historical sites.
And for bookworms and literature enthusiasts? Dublin is a literary hub that brings together poets, novelists, playwrights, avid readers, and historians. It’s a haven filled with fantastic opportunities like library hopping, book festivals, discovering incredible book and poetry publishers, and more.
Dublin, indeed, has literature in its blood. Well, it was hailed as one of the six Unesco Cities of Literature for a good reason.
Let’s uncover why Dublin is a perfect place for your literary adventure.
This UNESCO City of Literature is home to the Book of KellsDublin is home to one of Ireland’s greatest treasures: The Book of Kells. It is a manuscript of four Gospels of the New Testament, written in Latin by the Celtic monks back in 800 AD. The manuscript is beautifully illuminated in the 18th-century Old Library of Trinity College.
And while you’re in Trinity College Library, take all the time you need to adore the Long Room, which is home to 200,000 old books on ancient oak bookshelves.
It’s the land of literary legends.
Dublin is where the best Irish poets, playwrights, and novelists were born, educated, and shaped. We have Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and James Joyce. Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw, Lady Gregory, and Bram Stoker.
Go on a walking tour to meet these literary heroes. Walk around the city and find heritage plaques dedicated to some of Ireland’s most famous writers. You can even see bridges and literary attractions named after them.
Dublin has literary museums and other literary attractions
Dublin’s literary heritage is well documented and preserved in excellent museums and galleries dotted around the city.
- Dublin Writers Museum – a treasure trove of the city’s noteworthy artifacts, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Samuel Beckett’s phone, letters, manuscripts, and portraits,
- The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) – a museum featuring exhibitions on the Emerald Isle’s most influential writers and poets and a collection of unique literary artifacts.
- James Joyce Centre – If you want to know about James Joyce, you can visit The James Joyce Centre, housed in an 18th-century townhouse. Aside from promoting his work and life, the center also holds lectures, activities, and exhibits for literary students and enthusiasts.
- National Print Museum – The museum, located in a former soldier’s chapel, aims to showcase the historical significance and contemporary relevance of printing in Ireland.
You can visit the places that inspired James Joyce’s Ulysses.
James Joyce is not just Dublin’s most significant modern writer — he’s also one of the most influential Irish novelists of the 20th century. He’s known for contributing to the modernist avant-garde movement during his time. He is best known for his modernist novel Ulysses (1922).
Aside from dropping by James Joyce Centre, you can learn more about the legendary novelist by visiting some of the destinations that inspired Joyce’s Ulysses and are featured in the novel:
- James Joyce Tower and Museum (Sandycove, Dublin)
- Glasnevin Cemetery (Dublin)
- Davy Byrnes Pub (Dublin, County Dublin)
The city has literary pubs and pub crawls too
Dublin is the place to be if you love both pubs and literature. Not all pubs are characterized by loud background music — some are peaceful, quiet, and ideal for creating meaningful conversations, reading, and writing. These pubs were frequented by some of Dublin’s prominent literary figures.
Here are some of the literary pubs you may check out when you’re in the Irish capital:
- Davy Byrne’s
- The Palace Bar
- The Brazen Head
Dublin Literary Pub Crawl is also a must-try activity to learn more about the literary associations of Dublin pubs. You’ll be guided by actors who’ll fill you with quotes, jokes, and literary history throughout your two-hour tour.
Dublin has a wealth of beautiful historical libraries.
A travel guide about this UNESCO City of Literature will only be complete by listing the libraries you can visit. They are not just historical — they’re also jaw-droppingly beautiful.
- Trinity College’s Long Room – is one of the most stunning libraries in Europe. The library housed in Trinity College is home to The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin containing the four Gospels of the New Testament.
- Marsh’s Library – Ireland’s oldest public library dates back to 1707. It contains over 25,000 books.
- Chester Beatty Library – more like a museum than a library, Chester Beatty has the finest collection of manuscripts and books made by a 20th-century private collector, including over 6,000 items from East Asia and the West.
- National Library of Ireland – an expansive library that features 8 million items, including the most extensive single collection of W.B Yeat’s work
- Pearse Street Library – this library stores records of Dublin-based daily newspapers and periodicals that date back to 1909.
A wide array of charming bookstores to visit
A literary trial would only be completed by visiting a good bookstore. Sure, these libraries, museums, and literary pubs have a wealth of historical significance, but it’s also nice to have something you can take home with you… literally.
Check out these great Dublin bookstores that house an extensive collection of the best book publishers in Ireland. Plus: they’re Instagram-worthy, too, from the inside out!
- The Winding Stair, 40 Lower Ormond Quay
- Chapters Bookstore, Parnell Street
- Books Upstairs, 17 D’Olier Street
- The Gutter Bookshop, Temple Bar & Dalkey
- Dubray Books, Grafton Street
- The Company of Books, Ranelagh
- Hodges Figgis, 56-58 Dawson Street
- Stokes Books, George’s Street Arcade
- Ulysses Rare Books Ltd., 10 Duke Street
- The Library Project, Temple Bar
- Alan Hanna’s Bookshop, 270 Rathmines Road Lower
Carmina Natividad is a passionate content writer who spends most of her time writing poems, songs, short stories, and informative blogs. To learn more about literature, from poetry to fiction, check out Doire Press, an award-winning book publisher in Ireland.