As the train arrived in Connolly station it seemed the weather had turned for the better and a little jaunt around the literary spots of Dublin was in order. Dublin is a lyrical city where words seem to dance down the twisting river that runs through its heart. It bursts with bookshops, historical attractions and has played host to many literary greats as they travelled, worked and naturally wrote.
For those seeking a book based shopping spree the city has loads to offer. From the larger chain stores such as Waterstone’s and Eason’s to the smaller independent places like Chapters and The Winding Stair (pictured right) there will be something for every kind of book buyer.
Clutching a map in hand it was actually quite easy to find Dublin Writer’s Museum. This place proved to be a particular highlight for me as I gazed down on a glass cabinet full of horror related exhibitions. Items pertaining to Charles Maturin, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and of course, the legendary Bram Stoker featured. I stood transfixed staring at a note written in Stoker’s own hand and a beautiful, if well loved, first edition of Dracula.
The museum is packed with information and exhibits about many Irish writers such as W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Flann O’Brien and Samuel Beckett. The Jonathan Swift collection was particularly fascinating. Gulliver’s Travels frightened me from the very first time I read it even though it was a picture book adaptation for children. As I grew older and delved into the original book it became even more harrowing. By the time I had reached university I had come to a level of understanding of Swift’s works contextually. He was commenting on how cruel, crazy and ridiculous humanity can be and often is. He also proved to be one of (if not the greatest) satirists in literary history with his essay A Modest Proposal.
With the day waning we visited Eccles Street in search of the famous fictional address of one Leopold Bloom. However, the street is not as it was in the time when Joyce immortalised it in his seminal work Ulysses and so we plodded by the James Joyce Centre taking in the wide elegant grandeur of North Great George’s Street. The guard’s whistle doesn’t wait for anyone so we had just about enough time to stop and bid farewell to this literary city before hopping on the train back home.
RELATED READING: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Selected Poems of W.B. Yeats, A Modest Proposal, Playboy of the Western World, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Collected Poems of Oscar Wilde, At Swim-Two Birds, Dracula, Waiting for Godot, Uncle Silas and, of course, Dubliners.