On Friday 2 February, UCD Foundation joined in the official launch event of the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) at the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Iveagh House, Dublin. A historic partnership between UCD and the National Library of Ireland, the new landmark cultural institution will be in the heart of Dublin at Newman House, the original home of UCD.
The day was significant for many reasons: it represented not only James Joyce’s birthday, but also the anniversary of the first ever publication of one of his most celebrated texts, Ulysses.
The Museum of Literature Ireland sets a precedent for large scale, collaborative public engagement projects in the cultural heritage sector. Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library of Ireland said: “This exciting partnership brings together expertise and priceless treasures from the National Library and UCD to create a new and unique destination, the MoLI. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to share our extraordinary collections, including Copy No. 1 of Ulysses, with visitors from across Ireland and the world.”
Eamonn Ceannt, Chair, MoLI, acknowledged the donors and support that the project has received to date: “MoLI could not have been made possible without the extraordinary generosity of Martin & Carmel Naughton, Desmond Green and Catherine Cotter as well as other significant philanthropic contributions and a most welcome €2.5m grant from Fáilte Ireland.”
Outlining Fáilte Ireland’s commitment to the project, the tourism authority’s Chairman Michael Cawley emphasised: “Literature is in the fabric of Dublin and the city is rightly renowned for its rich literary heritage. I have always felt that Dublin, and indeed Ireland, deserves a project of scale, ambition and impact to appropriately reflect the contribution of its native writers. For us in tourism, Dublin truly is the ‘City of Words’ and-with this new attraction-we now have the ability to express that clearly and give visitors the opportunity to explore our literary past and immerse themselves in the city’s contemporary writing scene.”
While MoLI will showcase and interpret the history of Ireland’s literary culture, it will also look to the present and future of Irish writing. This dual vision will be achieved through an education and outreach programme that will include school programmes, lectures, seminars and symposia, writer and publisher interviews and readings, digital broadcasting, artistic commissions, as well as book clubs, social events and research facilities.
Simon O’Connor, Director of MoLI, spoke about the contemporary approach to the museum: “The 21st Century museum is not a place that simply remembers what went before. It is a site of vastly different experiences, inspired by the past and imagining the future, through an open door and with an open mind.”
The Museum of Literature Ireland will open in Spring 2019 and UCD Foundation looks forward to the many celebrations of Irish literature that MoLI will bring in its wake.
For more information, visit www.moli.ie