Museum of Literature Ireland to open for first time on Culture Night

The UCD-National Library of Ireland venture will be a landmark cultural institution on St Stephen’s Green

The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI), Ireland’s new landmark cultural institution, is to open its doors for the first time in the historic setting of UCD Newman House on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin on Culture Night 2019, Friday, September 20th.

A major partnership and creative alliance between University College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland, supported by the Naughton Foundation and Fáilte Ireland, MoLI will celebrate Ireland’s world-renowned literary culture and heritage.

Picturesquely located on the south side of St Stephen's Green in one of Dublin's finest historic houses, MoLI draws inspiration from the work of Ireland's most famous writer, James Joyce, and is named for his best-known female character, Molly Bloom. Advance ticket sales for museum visits from Saturday September 21st at 10am are now live on its website moli.ie

MoLI will feature dynamic, immersive exhibitions that tell the story of Ireland’s literary heritage from our earliest storytelling traditions to our celebrated contemporary writers. On display will be a host of literary treasures from the National Library collections including the very first copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, as well as handwritten notebooks for Ulysses and fascinating letters, including one from Joyce to WB Yeats.

UCD Newman House has undergone years of careful restoration and modernisation under the guidance of award-winning architects Scott Tallon Walker. The historic building is the original site of UCD and a place of learning for Irish writers including James Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Maeve Binchy and Mary Lavin. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins also lived in the building for a time. MoLI will continue this fine history of education with a significant free-to-access national children’s programme, literary and writing events, readings, performances, debate and discussion, as well as a Joycean research library accessible to students, scholars and the public alike.

Along with historic house tours, contemporary artistic commissions, a stunning courtyard cafe set in tranquil hidden gardens and a shop offering the best in Irish publishing and craft, MoLI will present new temporary exhibitions throughout the year, the first focussing on Limerick born writer and former Newman House student Kate O’Brien. MoLI also houses its own digital broadcasting studio, recording interviews, readings, discussions and events with writers, poets, artists, performers, educators and academics from Ireland and abroad. The in-house Radio MoLI broadcasts 24 hours a day across the world on radio.moli.ie

Simon O’Connor, director of MoLI, said: “It is truly exciting to be so close to opening this much anticipated museum to the public. The combination of UCD’s beautiful Newman House, Joycean treasures from the NLI, secret gardens, shop and exquisite courtyard café will make the Museum of Literature Ireland more than a major addition to our country’s cultural landscape – MoLI will be a literary and educational oasis for locals and visitors alike, in the very heart of Dublin.”

Prof Margaret Kelleher, chair of Anglo-Irish literature and drama at University College Dublin, said: “At the heart of MoLI is Ireland’s outstanding literary culture, and not just the riches of the past but also the dynamic present and future of Irish writing. Since its foundation, UCD has played a key part in fostering Irish writing and our educational programmes continue to do so. Through this groundbreaking partnership between our university and the National Library of Ireland, we can bring Irish literature to new audiences and animate the artists of our future.”

Dr Sandra Collins, director of the NLI noted: “The National Library’s literary collections are amongst the nation’s greatest treasures, and we are committed to opening up those treasures to the world. As such, we are delighted to have partnered with University College Dublin on the Museum of Literature Ireland, sharing both our exceptional collections and our expertise creating major literary exhibitions on figures such as WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney.”

MoLI will open from 5pm-10pm on September 20th as part of Culture Night 2019 and on this first evening entry will be free of charge. MoLI will officially open from 10am on September 21st. Tickets can now be purchased from moli.ie and are priced from €6. Tickets can also be purchased at the museum.

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