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A City of Words: Inside the Dublin Writers Museum Collection

Tuesday, 21st May: A new exhibition at MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland, celebrates the collection of the Dublin Writers Museum. From its first opening in 1991, the Dublin Writers Museum on Parnell Square amassed a collection of rare first editions, specially commissioned bronze busts and contemporary artwork, as well as personal items and intriguing mementos connected to the city’s writers from Jonathan Swift to Mary Lavin.

Highlights of the collection on display at the exhibition include Samuel Beckett’s telephone from his Paris apartment, Brendan Behan’s typewriter and union membership card, Mary Lavin’s childhood teddy bear, Frank O’Connor’s spectacles, Oliver St John Gogarty’s flying goggles and letters from Sean O’Casey, alongside rare editions of works by WB Yeats, Katharine Tynan, Edna O’Brien, and Bram Stoker.

Following the closure of the Dublin Writers Museum in 2020, the museum collection was transferred to MoLI to ensure its future safekeeping and availability for public display.

Paul Keeley, Director of Regional Development at Fáilte Ireland said:

“MoLI is connected as much to the living artistic community of today as it is to the rich writing tradition of our past and is a fantastic home for the Dublin Writers Museum Collection. Placing the collection here will help bring the unique story of Ireland’s literary heritage to life in new and immersive ways for a broad range of visitors. It will also ensure that these important artefacts benefit from the cultural curation, management and maintenance expertise of the staff at MoLI and their partners in UCD and the National Library of Ireland.”

Director of MoLI, Simon O’Connor, said:

“The Dublin Writers Museum Collection is a fascinating and very unique survey of our city’s literary history through personal items, artwork, sculpture, books and correspondence.

“Here at MoLI we are very proud to be entrusted with this collection, and to make it accessible in perpetuity to Dubliners and visitors from across Ireland and beyond. These precious items are a wonderful addition to the rich literary history on display at MoLI.”

Making this superb collection newly accessible to the public and visitors to Ireland, ‘A City of Words’ opens on Saturday June 1st, 2024, and will run at MoLI until Summer 2025, when beloved items from the Dublin Writers Museum collection and exhibition will remain on permanent display at the museum.