Take a walk on the Wilde side: discover literary Dublin

Irish countryside from World Around written by Maria Cleary. © Helbling Languages

Irish countryside from World Around written by Maria Cleary. © Helbling Languages

“…I live in Ireland every day in a drizzly dream of a Dublin walk…”

John Geddes

Oscar Wilde,  Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan and Roddy Doyle. Dublin-born authors are among our favourites. If you have ever read just one story from James Joyce’s Dubliners or a chapter from his Ulysses, you must have dreamt about taking a long walk through the city of Dublin. The city is associated with so many literary giants that it makes us think about the power of the genius loci and whether spending the right amount of time there could inspire creative minds to come up with new literary ideas. When you think of Dublin, what impressions and expectations do you have based on your literary memories? When you start researching famous literary Dubliners, you  will be surprised how many authors are connected to this city.

A POEM ABOUT DUBLIN 

Let’s start our literary wander in this inspiring old city with a visual poem. Watch this video on the Visit Dublin YouTube Channel and listen to Louis MacNeice’s poem ‘Dublin’ written in 1930 and read by Dublin slam poet Stephen James Smith.

DUBLIN, THE CITY OF LITERATURE

Currently there are eleven cities in the UNESCO City of Literature program, and Dublin joined this list in 2010. You can find the Cities of Literature on the UNESCO Creative Cities Network interactive website. What does it take to become a City of Literature? Your city has to meet a number of criteria and apply on the UNESCO Creative Cities Network website. To mention a few of the criteria, your city should have a diverse publishing scene, have educational programmes with a focus on literature at all educational levels, host literary events and festivals, promote both domestic and foreign literature through its libraries and book shops and support the translation of literary works.

FAMOUS LITERARY PLACES IN DUBLIN 

We have collected the seven most exciting places for you to visit either in real life or on a virtual tour through the city.

15 DUBLIN AUTHORS

  1. Oscar Wilde
  2. Oliver Goldsmith
  3. Bram Stoker
  4. Jonathan Swift
  5. Samuel Beckett
  6. Seán O’Casey
  7. W. B. Yeats
  8. G. B. Shaw
  9. Elizabeth Bowen
  10. James Joyce
  11. Brendan Behan
  12. Anne Enright
  13. Roddy Doyle
  14. Christy Brown
  15. Patrick Kavanagh

AND THE INEVITABLE LITERARY PUB TOUR…

When we visit literary bars, restaurants and pubs, it is exciting to know that our favourite authors visited the very same place and probably sat at the same table. How did they feel? What did they see? How has the atmosphere of the place changed? Although almost every pub in Dublin has some literary significance, here are some of the most famous pubs for literature lovers.

NOVELS SET IN DUBLIN

We often get to know a city through novels and our own imagination. Have you ever read a novel set in a city and then visited the same place? How did you feel? Did you feel that you already knew something special about the place? Let’s see some of well-known novels you might have already read.

Some great classics

  • Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  • A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man by James Joyce:
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Dream of Fair to Middling Women by Samuel Beckett
  • More Pricks Than Kicks by Samuel Beckett

Some contemporary titles

  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright
  • The Book of Evidence by John Banville
  • Sushi for Beginners by Marian Keyes
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • Broken Harbour by Tana French
Sample page about Ireland from Talking Culture written by Maria Cleary.

Sample page about Ireland from Talking Culture written by Maria Cleary. © Helbling

CLASSROOM RESOURCES

A good way to introduce your students to Irish literature is learning about the culture, geography and history of Ireland. Study the units on Ireland in the culture course books World Around and Talking Culture written by Maria Cleary.

Here are some useful websites where you can learn more about Dublin.

Do you have a literary experience or memory of Dublin? Share it with us! Come back read about Oscar Wilde, his stories and focus on his tale The Selfish Giant.

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