Calling all who love literature, in the immortal words of James Joyce himself; Welcome, O life! to the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI). From Samuel Beckett to Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker to Sally Rooney, Ireland is famous for its world-renowned writers and storytellers and now visitors can explore its rich literary heritage at MoLI on St Stephen’s Green. On display are a host of literary treasures including the very first copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, as well as handwritten notebooks for Ulysses and letters, including one from Joyce to W.B. Yeats.
The opening of MoLI represents a landmark partnership between UCD and the National Library of Ireland. It was brought about by the extraordinary philanthropy of the Naughton Foundation and the support of Failte Ireland and others, including The Donald and Marilyn Keough Foundation and Dr Francis and Colleen Bonner. All shared a common wish to restore UCD Newman House and give the historic building a new purpose. Thus, UCD Naughton Joyce Centre was born, and the Museum of Literature Ireland will now inhabit the beautifully renovated spaces and bring Ireland’s rich literary tradition to life.
Picturesquely located on the south side of St Stephen’s Green in one of Dublin’s finest historic houses, MoLI draws inspiration from the work of Ireland’s most famous writer, James Joyce, and is named for his best-known female character, Molly Bloom.
MoLI features dynamic exhibitions that tell the story of Ireland’s literary heritage from our earliest storytelling traditions to our celebrated contemporary writers. At one step along the exhibition trail, visitors can pause underneath state-of-the-art sound showers which invite them to, ‘shut your eyes and see,’ as beautiful verses from Irish writers rain down and fill up the senses in an immersive linguistic experience.
An exhibition on ‘the State and Irish Writing’ looks at the role of literature and culture in the formation of the new state and includes loans from UCD Special Collections including a first printing of Yeats’s ‘Easter, 1916’ generously donated to UCD by Dr Joseph Hassett.
“We are thrilled to finally open this incredible project to the public. After nearly ten years of dedication from so many staff in both UCD and the National Library, and incredible support from our donors and patrons, most notably The Naughton Foundation, Irish writing now has the museum it deserves – a truly 21st-century museum that can be enjoyed by everyone young and old, and connected as much to the living artistic community of today as we are to the rich writing tradition of our past. MoLI has finally woken up, and she is a gift to the people of Ireland.” – Simon O’Connor, Director of MoLI.
“On behalf of UCD Foundation, I extend our warmest gratitude and appreciation to the Naughton Foundation and to all the very generous donors who have helped to make MoLI happen. We can expect great things from this momentous new Irish museum, which promises to be a beating heart of Irish literary culture at the centre of Dublin city.” – Orla Gallagher, Director of Development, UCD Foundation.