Dublin Literary Walking Tour

Ireland, Dublin Guide (A): Dublin Literary Walking Tour

This tour takes in many of the places in Dublin made famous by their literary associations with some of the greatest Irish writers such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats and Oliver St John Gogarty.
In particular, Joyce’s “Ulysses” is considered the definitive book on Dublin as it was in the Edwardian era, the early years of the 20th Century.
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Walk Route

Guide Name: Dublin Literary Walking Tour
Guide Location: Ireland » Dublin
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Finn's Hotel   Sweny's Chemists shop   Oscar Wilde house   Oscar Wilde statue   Dermot Morgan seat   Michael Collins bust   W. B. Yeats House   Leinster House   National Gallery   Huguenot Cemetery   Oliver St John Gogarty   Shelbourne Hotel  
Author: Gerard Owens
Author Bio: A retired Chartered Accountant, I live in County Wicklow, the so-called Garden of Ireland. Among my interests are hill-walking, travel, literature, jazz, gardening and Chinese history and culture.
1
Finn's Hotel

1) Finn's Hotel

We begin our tour by recalling some of the events described in James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. Joyce first met Nora Barnacle on the evening of June 16th 1904 and immortalised that event by setting all the action of “Ulysses” on that same day, possibly the most important date in literary history. Finns Hotel, where Nora Barnacle worked can be seen on the left in South Leinster Street: it is the first building after Trinity College and the name “Finn’s Hotel” is still clearly visible...
2
Sweny's Chemists shop

2) Sweny's Chemists shop

Lincoln Place features in the book and it was in Sweny’s Chemists shop that Bloom bought a cake of lemon soap for four pence before he visited the public baths which were across the road; the shop today is physically more or less unchanged and many Dubliners make a point of buying lemon soap there each Bloomsday though it costs a bit more than the four pence Bloom paid in 1904. In recent times Sweny’s has been run as a place of Joycean interest and is no longer a chemists shop. It is staffed...
3
Oscar Wilde house

3) Oscar Wilde house

Another writer associated with this part of Dublin is the famous playwright Oscar Wilde. Oscar was born in 21 Westland Row in 1854, and the following year the Wilde family moved to No 1 Merrion Square; Oscar’s father was Sir William Wilde an eminent eye surgeon and philanthropist; Wilde’s mother was a prominent poet who wrote using the pen-name Speranza and her house served as a famous literary salon attended by many of the most eminent of Dublin’s literary figures. Oscar was a brilliant...
4
Oscar Wilde statue

4) Oscar Wilde statue

There is a recently erected statue of Oscar across the road in the park. Wilde wrote eight plays in all of which “The Importance of being Earnest” is probably the most famous; he also wrote many poems, essays of criticism and a famous novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. In later years he ran into trouble on account of his flouting of Victorian conventions and especially over his relationship with the young Lord Alfred Douglas; this was ultimately to lead to his downfall and, after a...
5
Dermot Morgan seat

5) Dermot Morgan seat

The Dermot Morgan seat in the park was erected in recent years as a tribute to the memory of Dermot Morgan of Father Ted fame; he also featured in the weekly radio show Scrap Saturday, this was taken off the national radio station because of the unmerciful satirising of our politicians; it was an outrageously funny show. Morgan was immortalised in the Father Ted series, a genuinely funny man who died at the relatively early age of 46 years, he is fondly remembered by his fellow...
6
Michael Collins bust

6) Michael Collins bust

Also within the Park is a bust commemorating Michael Collins, one of the great figures in the struggle for Irish independence; he was shot dead while visiting Cork in 1922 during the course of the savage Civil War which followed the Anglo-Irish treaty. This conflict was caused when a rift developed between those in favour of accepting the Treaty and those who were opposed to the Treaty on the grounds that it was incomplete and not a satisfactory settlement. In the recent film on Collins his...
7
W. B. Yeats House

7) W. B. Yeats House

Merrion Square is considered to be the finest example of a Georgian square and it stands supreme for the purity of its architecture, the excellent state of its presentation and the subtle variety of its fanlights and doorways. The poet, W B Yeats lived at No 82 from 1922 to 1928. Yeats was one of the foremost poets of the 20th Century who was also very much involved with the Irish Literary Revival and a leading figure in the founding of the Abbey Theatre. In addition to being an eminent poet,...
8
Leinster House

8) Leinster House

Leinster House, the national Parliament building since 1922 is located on Merrion Square West; this was built in 1745 and was originally the town house of the Dukes of Leinster, hence the name “Leinster House”. It then passed to the Royal Dublin Society, the RDS, who used it as headquarters and a place for agricultural and trade exhibitions. The RDS added four important buildings to showcase its cultural and industrial activities: the Natural History Museum, the National Art Gallery, the...
9
National Gallery

9) National Gallery

The National Art Gallery contains a number of outstanding paintings. Firstly, the Caravaggio painting “The Taking of Christ”, a world-famous classic which went “missing” for many years before it was discovered in 1993. For decades it had been thought to be the work of a second rank Dutch painter and it was only in recent years that the correct identification was made. The Gallery also has an outstanding Vermeer painting of the girl and the letter, both of these paintings are well worth...
10
Huguenot Cemetery

10) Huguenot Cemetery

The 17th Century Huguenot Cemetery is located on Merrion Row. The Huguenots were Protestant refugees who fled France in 1572 after the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre. Many of them settled in Dublin and one of the 239 people buried in this ancient cemetery is named Becquett, an ancestor of the playwright Samuel Beckett of Waiting for Godot fame. Beckett was a student in Trinity College and later worked there as a member of the teaching staff until the late 1930’s when he left Dublin for Paris...
11
Oliver St John Gogarty

11) Oliver St John Gogarty

Near the cemetery is No 33 St Stephen’s Green, the house with the plaque to Oliver St.John Gogarty; he was a friend of Joyce who features as “stately plump Buck Mulligan” in the opening chapter of “Ulysses” set in the Martello tower at Sandycove; Gogarty lived for a time in nearby Ely Place which we have just passed. He is remembered as one of the most famous of the Dublin wits of the early decades of the 20th Century and as the author of a large number of books of which “As I was...
12
Shelbourne Hotel

12) Shelbourne Hotel

The statue at the entrance to St Stephen’s Green is of Wolfe Tone leader of the 1798 Rebellion who had spent some time in France and was inspired by the French Revolution in 1789 to attempt an uprising in Ireland. The Green itself was a gift from Lord Ardilaun, a member of the Guinness brewing family, to the City of Dublin; Shelbourne Hotel has a Constitution Room where the Constitution of Ireland was drafted in 1922 and the upstairs room has been preserved unaltered since that date on account...

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