Dublin City of Literature: Where Irish Writers Lived

Dublin City has been home to many significant Irish writers and it has been recognised as a UNESCO City of Literature. Here are some Dublin addresses that were homes and significant places to renowned Irish writers throughout their years:

Dublin City of Literature: Where Irish Writers Lived

Oscar Wilde: 1, Merrion Square

Merrion Square is one of Dublin’s most central locations, characterised by its rows of Georgian houses. Oscar Wilde grew up in number One, and as a result claimed the square as his playground during his youth. A number of other significant Irish figures resided on Merrion Square, including Daniel O’Connell and William Butler Yeats.

Oscar Wilde has been memorialised with a sculpture overlooking his childhood home and he can be seen lounging atop a slab of white quartz.

Oscar Wilde Sculpture, Merrion Square

Mary Lavin: 11 Lad Lane

Mary Lavin was originally from the US, and moved to Ireland when she was 10 years old, she grew up in Meath. When she moved to Dublin, she lived in 11 Lad Lane, and her home was popular with literary and artistic friends. Mary Lavin won the Tait Black Memorial Prize for her collection titled Tales from Bective Bridge (1942). She continued to excel in the short story art form, and also wrote three novels.

Last year, the public square Wilton Park by the Grand Canal was renamed in Mary Lavin’s memory. She is the first female Irish writer to have a park named after her and a public artwork has been commissioned in her honour.

Bram Stoker: 30 Kildare Street

This Georgian house was home to Bram Stoker in his adult years, the author of the world-renowned Dracula. It was one of the many locations that inspired the iconic novel.

Today, the house is historically recognised, and though not open to the public, is still an interesting one to see. Some other Dublin locations which inspired Stoker include Trinity College and Dublin Castle, where the writer worked for many years.

James Joyce: 7 Peter’s Terrace

James Joyce and his family were well-known for their residence at multiple addresses across Dublin. The family were constantly on the move, due to financial issues, and never settled in one home for long. Joyce lived at 18 separate addresses, but the most significant was 7 Peter’s Terrace, now St Peter’s Road, Dublin 7. This was where in 1903 his mother May Joyce passed away.

In 1904, Joyce left the city and moved to Pola (now Pula), Croatia – with Nora Barnacle, who he would go on to marry in 1931. Joyce only returned to Dublin four more times, including a brief period in 1909 to help set up one of the city’s first cinemas, the Volta on St. Mary’s Street. The last time he returned was in 1912.

Iris Murdoch: Blessington Street

Iris Murdoch was born in Dublin and made her writing debut with Under the Net in 1954. She wrote 26 novels and several books of philosophy, and won the Booker Prize for her novel, The Sea, The Sea (1978).

At Somerville College, Oxford, she read Classics, and was awarded a research studentship in philosophy at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1948, she returned to Oxford as fellow and tutor at St Anne’s College and later taught at the Royal College of Art. Her 26 novels include the James Tait Black Memorial prize-winning The Black Prince (1973) and the Whitbread prize-winning The Sacred and Profane Love Machine (1974).

When she lived in Blessington Street, this was not a park but The Basin, a reservoir that supplied water to the city. The Basin is now an oasis of calm, a tiny lake and park in the city, and Iris Murdoch is remembered here with a plaque.

Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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