Insider Tips

Museum of Literature Ireland

By Visit Dublin

24th August 2021

The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) is a landmark cultural institution in the heart of the Irish capital. Located on St Stephen's Green in UCD’s Newman House, the building is home to a host of media exhibitions, artefacts, tours, workshops and a café with beautiful adjoining gardens. A digital radio station (RadioMoLI) broadcasts from the venue, turning it into a unique focal point for Irish literature. Here is what visitors can expect to encounter at this special Dublin museum.

If you’re a keen literature enthusiast, MoLI will be a virtual feast for the eyes and ears. The museum celebrates Ireland's literary and cultural heritage in a way that has never been done before. Using cutting-edge multimedia exhibitions, it tells the story of Ireland's literary heritage, from the earliest medieval storytelling traditions to contemporary writers entering the international literary scene in recent years.

Literary treasures

On visiting the museum, you’ll bear witness to a number of fascinating literary treasures. These include handwritten notebooks that were used to write James Joyce's Ulysses as well as the very first edition of Ulysses itself, the famous “copy no.1” which was donated to the National Library by Harriet Shaw in 1952. Learn about Irish literature around the world along with the history of publishing in the Irish State. You’ll also find a temporary exhibition that will change regularly based on new developments in the literary field. This exhibition fulfils an exciting role: it will travel from MoLI to other locations around the world, furthering people’s knowledge of the Irish literary scene on an international scale.

Café and gardens

A trip to MoLI is not only educational – there are also botanical and culinary treats to enjoy. Visitors can soak up a unique and tranquil atmosphere in the newly landscaped gardens at the rear of the museum. A south-facing oasis in the heart of the city centre, the gardens also connect to the secret walled park in Iveagh Gardens. Two protected trees are contained within the enclosure, one of which is the ash tree that James Joyce had his graduation photograph taken beneath (the perfect spot for a selfie perhaps?).

You’ll also find a garden terrace where, weather permitting, you can enjoy breakfast or lunch in beautiful leafy surroundings. Food and refreshments are courtesy of The Commons, a café run by Domini and Peaches Kemp that is set in the original student dining halls of the building. Expect tasty seasonal Irish food with a nod to traditional dishes.  


Aside from all this, one of the most exciting developments happening at MoLI is the museum’s online radio station for Irish literature. RadioMoLI features an exciting array of newly commissioned writing, discussion, interviews, radio plays, documentaries and more. The station broadcasts 24/7 and is aimed at a global audience. Listeners can tune in online.

Research library

In addition to the radio station, scholars and literary buffs will be delighted to know that MoLI also contains a research library, open to students and museum members. The library is located in a beautiful, peaceful room overlooking the Iveagh Gardens and contains academic journals, periodicals and scholarly texts relating to the work of James Joyce. There are also early and semi-rare editions of Joyce works that can be handled with supervision. The library is just one of the additions added by architecture firm Scott Tallon Walker and exhibition designers Ralph Appelbaum Associates, who were commissioned to transform Newman House’s Aula Maxima building into a 10,000 square foot exhibition space.

An apt location

MoLI brings something special to Dublin's cultural scene: a collaboration between University College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland, it’s made possible by the generous support of the Naughton Foundation and Fáilte Ireland. The building itself is an apt location for the museum – once the site of the original grounds of UCD, it’s a place where many talented Irish writers were educated, including James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Maeve Binchy and Mary Lavin.

Plan your visit to The Museum of Literature Ireland now.

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