It may not come as a surprise that we’re fans of all things literary here at Associated Editions. For all you fellow bookworms, take a look at some of our favourite libraries and literary places to visit in Dublin.
Our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning The National Library. It features free guided tours along with the largest collection of W.B. Yeats manuscripts in the world. We highly recommend seeing the Yeats Collection in the basement of the library, as there are more than 2,000 items available for viewing. There are handwritten copies of Yeats’ poems, several paintings, and beautifully decorated books, plus many other artifacts donated by the Yeats family.
Marsh’s Library has the distinction of being Ireland’s oldest public library. It was established in 1707 and contains a whopping 25,000 books and 300 manuscripts. There are books from the 15th to the 18th century on topics ranging from history and science to travel and religion. Plus, the library posts a different picture from their extensive collection every day on Facebook and Twitter, so you can enjoy the artifacts even if you can’t make it to the library in person.
If you do decide to visit the library, it is open to visitors for a fee of €3.00, or €2.00 for students and senior citizens. Researchers can get in for free, and the building is open to the public from 9:30 to 5 pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and 10 to 5 pm Saturday.
Dublin Writers Museum
Many famous writers have come from our capital city, including W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and several others. The Dublin Writers Museum houses books, letters, portraits, and personal items from these writers, making it a great attraction for anyone interested in Ireland’s literary culture.
The museum, located in an 18th century mansion in the north city centre, has exhibitions, lunchtime theatre and readings, and a special room devoted to children’s literature. There are also tours in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch, so nonnative English speakers can fully appreciate Ireland’s heritage, too.
Chester Beatty Library
The Chester Beatty Library has works from the world’s major religions—Christianity, Islam, Buddhism—along with secular items. The collection was assembled by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, who collected manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, and rare books. It is equal parts art museum and library, plus it’s free to explore. The Asian artifacts are worth checking out, along with the gorgeously decorated Qurans. The intricate artwork of many pieces is wonderful to look at.
The library was named European Museum of the Year in 2002, and is right next to Dublin Castle, so you can explore two major attractions in one go.
Contemporary Music Centre
Who said all libraries have to have books?
The Contemporary Music Centre is located in the west end of Temple Bar. Its library and sound archive are open to the public free of charge and contain the only existing comprehensive collection of music by Irish composers. The centre supports the work of composers throughout the Republic and Northern Ireland, and is an essential visit for any music lover. While an in-person visit is recommended, the centre’s website has a sound archive that’s free to browse.
Those are our top five literary-related places; if we missed your favourite let us know.
If you haven’t been to some of these places yet try visit them, you never know you may find a member of Associated Editions browsing too!