In an earlier blog post I wrote about a small museum in Zanzibar that was unimpressive in the size and the quality of its collection, but that opened up new worlds to me. Similarly in Dublin, the Writers Museum is very modest in scope. There are displays devoted to individual authors, that in some cases are little more than a small collection of personal effects. As you walk through the museum, you listen to a recorded guided tour that talks briefly about the various writers. Sure, we all know Joyce, Yeats, and Beckett and have perhaps read some of their work, but what about Mary Lavin, George Moore, and Oliver St. John Gogarty? Far fewer of us know anything about them. A visit to the museum will send you home with a daunting reading list. My first foray into my list was George Moore's memoires, an astonishingly frank portrayal of the Irish literary scene in the early 20th century. It was soon after that I discovered that a recent Glenn Close movie, Albert Nobbs, was based on a short story by Moore.
All travelers need a good book. So what could be better than a trip to a museum that will provide readings that are so relevant to your travels. Your time in Dublin (designated by UNESCO as a "City of Literature") will be all the more rewarding.
By the way, make sure to drop in to Gogarty's, a pub in the Temple Bar neighborhood of Dublin. It's a fun, somewhat touristy, pub, but at least after the Writers Museum, you'll be able to say you know something about its namesake!
Visit the Writers Museum website
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By Kevin O'Neill