The Museum of Literature Ireland


estherOnce you step into the Museum of Literature, you receive the most unique welcome that no other museum anywhere in the world has ever offered.

To welcome you into the world of Irish Literature, you are told to write out the first line of your own book on sheets of cards that are provided. Just pause for a second and think about what that feels like. The surprise and the inspiration it drives. It immediately puts you in the mood, making it feel like the walls are taking; putting lines and stories into your head.

That is the beauty of the Museum of Literature, Ireland.

Dublin has lived up to its rank as a UNESCO City of Literature. Aside from the Writers Museum, Dublin boasts a museum dedicated to the promotion of Irish literature. The Museum of Literature is home to a number of fascinating literary treasures. These features include handwritten notebooks that were used to write James Joyce’s book, Ulysses. It also houses the very first edition of the book Ulysses itself.

With a cost of over €10 million, the University College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland partnered to create a museum that celebrates the literary heritage of Ireland. This museum is both educating and entertaining as it boasts multi-media displays, inspirational audio recordings and a lot of films that were carefully produced for the museum.

As a foreign student and a young writer too, I found the Museum of Literature to be a second home for me. It was always my next destination after school. There I got to meet and associate with like-minds; creative writers from different countries who also visited the museum for the same purpose as mine; inspiration to write that next best seller. But it was more than just that for me.


MoLI interior


The Museum of Literature has just the right research tools every writer needs. It is rare anywhere in the world, and possibly impossible in Africa, especially Nigeria where I come from to find a museum dedicated to literature. My continent places more attention on arts, paintings, and historical crafts when thinking of establishing museums. But here is a country that believes that literature is so important that it has to be preserved.

The Museum of Literature ignited my career and gave me deeper reasons to be proud of my art and talent. Walking around the museum and seeing how proudly the works of James Joyce are displayed and preserved even for centuries to come, I couldn’t help my imagination but think of how my writings would someday get to that level of acceptance. And for every time I felt that way, I felt a burning passion to write even more.

Remember the ritual I told you as the first thing you are asked to do once you step into the Museum of Literature? Yes, writing the first line of your own book, I did. On my first visit to the museum, I had no intentions of writing a new book and no ideas at all. But when I was asked to write the first line of a book I had no intention of writing, I felt lines were coming into my head from so many different directions. I wrote down a few words from nowhere. But those few words have inspired a beautiful 10,000 pages book I’ll soon put out for the world to see. And when I do that, I’ll most definitely dedicate that book to the Museum of Literature, Ireland.

Esther Edo