Ireland has a new landmark cultural institution. The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) on St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin celebrates Ireland’s world-renowned literary heritage.
The museum is a major partnership between University College Dublin (UCD) and the National Library of Ireland. It’s located in one of Dublin’s finest historic houses, UCD’s Newman House, which was the original site of the university and a place of learning for Irish writers including James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Maeve Binchy, and Mary Lavin. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins also lived in the building for a time.
In its newest incarnation, MoLI (which acronym was chosen in honor of James Joyce’s best-known female character, Molly Bloom) features exhibitions that tell the story of Ireland’s literary heritage, from the earliest storytelling traditions to celebrated contemporary writers. Its displays include the very first copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, his handwritten notebooks, and some of his letters, including one he wrote to W.B. Yeats.
The museum runs a free national children’s program, literary and writing events, readings, performances, debates, and discussions. A Joycean research library is accessible to students and to the public.
There’s also a courtyard café set in hidden gardens, a shop offering the best in Irish publishing and craft, and even a digital broadcasting studio. This broadcasts interviews, readings, and discussions with writers, poets, artists, and academics from Ireland and across the world online at www.radiomoli.ie. ♦