As I mentioned in this Literary Wanderlust post, having a travel theme can make your trips more serendipitous and meaningful. Most people go to Dublin for the brews. I went to Dublin for the books. 😉 Dublin, Ireland is a UNESCO City of Literature and the honorary home of authors like William Butler Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Seamus Heaney, and Jonathan Swift. That said, there is no shortage of bookish things to do in Dublin! This city, and Ireland in general, celebrates literature in such a special way–maybe even more so than all of the other places we have been.
Bookish things to do in Dublin Ireland:
Walk around and take in this UNESCO City of Literature
This city cares so deeply about its literary roots that it’s hard not to find bookish things to do in Dublin. Just take a stroll through the city, and you’ll notice nods to literature almost everywhere you look! From heritage plaques to street names to street art, the Irish really know how to honor their storytelling traditions!
Explore The National Library of Ireland Yeats Exhibition
I have been to a lot of literary museums around the world, and the Yeats Exhibition at the National Library of Ireland is one of my absolute favorites. I love a good niche curation, and this one is pure magic, literally!
While most English teachers are familiar with his poetry in British literature curriculum, it might come as a surprise that Yeats had a strong affiliation with the Occult. He spent much of his time collecting and preserving folklore stories in secluded parts of Ireland and found a spiritual connection with the magical tales of fairies and the supernatural.
The reason I loved this exhibition so much is because when you first walk in, you are surrounded by audio and visuals of his poetry which really sets the mystical mood. After you begin walking around, you get to see so many incredible primary sources. For example, here is a free-thinking “dreamlike” writing Yeats did.
There are so many neat things like this to see, and you can also go into the little rooms where you can watch videos about his life in Ireland. I’m not one for long stays in museums, but I could have stayed in this one for hours. My pictures just don’t do it justice because it really was a full-sensory experience.
If you want a unique Yeats poetry lesson, click here: W. B. Yeats in Ireland: Poetry meets Podcast
Visit one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, Trinity Library
If you do a search for “the most beautiful libraries in the world” Trinity Library will always make the list, and for good reason! This library took my breath away. The architecture and symmetry are simply spectacular. Your ticket to see this library will also include a glimpse at what some claim to be the most beautiful book ever created–The Book of Kells. You are NOT allowed to take pictures of the Book of Kells (someone got yelled at while I was in the room), but those ancient, yet bright colors will never leave your mind’s eye.
Tour The Guinness Storehouse and find the UNESCO literature sign
No trip to Dublin would be complete without taking a tour of the Guinness Storehouse. It’s educational, hands-on, and you can’t miss getting to see the UNESCO literature sign in the Gravity Bar with the best views of Dublin!
Do an entertaining and educational literary pub crawl
Keeping with the brews theme, doing a literary pub crawl is another must for bookish things to do in Dublin! We visited Ireland during an offseason (September) and this tour was the only thing in Ireland that was sold out. By the luck of the Irish, someone didn’t show up, and I got to go. My husband and friend couldn’t join me, but I felt perfectly safe and welcome as a solo attendee. The actors were very good and did a great job of reenacting literary giants of Ireland.
After hearing some good stories at the meeting place, we headed to different spots around Dublin. The actors guided us and stopped to do spoken word acting at each location. I didn’t know all of the authors they recited, but it was very entertaining and what this English teacher would call a great time. I highly recommend making reservations well in advance for the Literary Pub Crawl if you want to go!
Take a picture with the Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture in Merrion Square
Circling back to my first recommendation for bookish things to do in Dublin, take a stroll to Merrion Park where you’ll find the Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture. The Guinness Ireland Group (yes, that Guinness from number 3 on this list) commissioned the statue of Oscar Wilde in 1997 to honor one of Ireland’s (and British Literature teacher’s) most beloved authors. His quirky statue is positioned to look straight out at his boyhood home of renowned surgeon and Irish folklorist Sir William Wilde.
If you want to read more about how Oscar Wilde can help you add diversity to your British Literature class, read here: How to Diversify Your British Literature Class
I feel truly lucky to be able to write this post about one of the best literary destinations in the world. It’s always fun to reminisce about travel and daydream about my next destination.
If this post has sparked literary wanderlust in you and you want to travel more with points, I’m going to share my favorite travel credit cards. I use my travel credit card like a debit card and pay the entire balance each month. As always, please protect your finances and make the best decision for your spending tendencies. For me, this has proven to be a fantastic way to travel more for free because I’m usually able to cover the flight costs using only points.
These are my favorite cards because of their SIMPLICITY. To use your points, all you have to do is purchase a hotel, flight, or anything travel related on any site you wish then log into your CC account and click “erase my purchase.” Magic!
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