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Literary Heritage

“a way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay…”

The opening and closing lines of James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake are a vivid reminder of how literature is deeply embedded in Dublin. For books are in the city’s very heart – in Joyce’s Anna Livia, in the eloquent, witty conversations heard on the streets, and above all in the distinguished roll call of writers, past and present , whose presence permeates the metropolis. 

Some of the greatest names in literary history emanate from Ireland’s capital. In addition to Joyce, one of the most innovative writers in the English language, we have also produced four Nobel laureates of literature : two titans of poetry in William Butler Yeats and Seamus Heaney, the prolific dramatist George Bernard Shaw and the extraordinary, multi-faceted Samuel Beckett.

The city’s pride in its literary heritage is reflected in the place names. Indeed three of the river Liffey’s newest bridges are named after a trinity of world class writers – Joyce, O’Casey and Beckett. As befits the nation’s capital, its Georgian squares and streets abound with cultural institutions, among them the Abbey Theatre, the National Library, Archbishop Marsh’s Library, the Dublin Writer’s Museum, the National Print Museum and Trinity College – the latter home to the Book of Kells.

Dublin City Council sponsors the prestigious International Dublin Literary Award. Founded in 1995, this award (formerly known as the IMPAC) draws its entries from libraries in over 160 countries worldwide and has been won many of the world’s finest contemporary novelists.

Today the capital boasts a flourishing literary scene with its bustling universities and libraries, a thriving publishing industry, several book festivals, and a vibrant generation of new authors producing exciting work. Add to this our unparalleled reputation as place of writers and writing with a global reach, and truly, Dublin richly deserves its laurel – city of literature.