Bookish Adventures: Library Hopping in Dublin, UNESCO ‘City of Literature’

It’s that time of year – with something like 4 weeks left before AP Exams,  with my seniors in major “senioritis” mode, with spring air in general stifling my students’ motivation to work – and with me majorly  freaking out about everything from a decline in homework completion to [fill in the blank with anything AP Calc related].

Thankfully, it’s also the time of year for Spring Break – and it couldn’t have come at a better time for my poor darlings, because I was really getting to be a bit too much there (huge Spring-Break Packet worth of too much, bless their hearts). Anyway, at first I was going to stay home, sleep, and enjoy the greenery in my new neighborhood outside of the City, but then several things happened: I got a sudden and irrepressible urge to just get out,  DC got waay too hot for my liking (we had almost hit 90F one day before I left), and then I found a cheap direct flight NORTH to a place that promised 40F-degree weather,  and that isn’t a hugely popular destination this time of year (so everything was easy and relatively cheap to book, even at the last minute).

Thus I find myself in Dublin this week. And, what do you know, it turns out that Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature! (I really had no idea when I bought my ticket). In retrospect, I should not be surprised – Dublin’s claim to literary fame hails through some of my favorite childhood authors: Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift,  W. B. Yeats and James Joyce.
doriangray  gulliver  yeatsportrait  edna

But they’re not the only ones – four Nobel Literature Awardees hail from Dublin, and many newer talents as well.. OH and I am almost forgetting the man who popularized my home (Romania)’s western Carpathian region (aka Transylvania) and Vlad Țepeș (aka Dracula).

Trinity Old Library

So, following in Fate’s footsteps, I decided to make this Spring Break a literary adventure. After some manically excited library-hopping, here’s my top three recommendations:

The Trinity Old College Library & Book of Kells – is absolute HEAVEN for book lovers – may the picture to the left speak for itself. I just wanted to burrow myself in a corner there and forget about the rest of the world… Wish they took applications for time-sharing cots! (Cost: 10 euros for adults without discounts)

The Chester Beatty Library – presents a large collection of ancient manchester libraryuscripts – Christian, East-Asian, and Islamic texts. It’s also free! And, there’s a nice cafe and indoor fountain (pictured right) where you can relax with tea and meditate on books… no, unfortunately you cannot read or even take pictures of anything in the collection, as all the books here are hundreds of years old at least. (Cost: FREE! Note: this is attached to the Dublin Castle, which is not free, so ask about directions to the library portion)

The National Library of Ireland – is the Irish equivalent of the Library of Congress. Not only do they have a huge reading room of books published, but they also hold papers of many historical figures, original manuscripts, etc. And, if you have Irish ancestry, this is the place to begin – or continue – youyeats expo at Library of Irelandr research. Pictured below-to the left are documents from a special Yeats exhibit. You can’t take pictures in the reading rooms, but the exhibition areas are open to photographers as long as you don’t use flash! And, as a bonus, the Library is right next to the National Museum of Ireland, so while you’re in the neighborhood, check out a bit of Irish history, art, & archeology! (Cost: FREE! Note: the museum does have an entrance fee.)


Other Resources for planning a BOOKalicious trip to Dublin:

From WanderingEducators: 28 Best Bookshops in Dublin

Meet Other Bookish People: Literary Pub Crawl & Walk

More Info on Lit Activities: UNESCO City of Literature Dublin

Walking the Path: Take a Writing Course in Dublin


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