Dublin named 'city of literature'

Dublin has today been designated a city of literature by the cultural arm of the United Nations, Unesco

Dublin has today been designated a city of literature by the cultural arm of the United Nations, Unesco. It is the fourth city to receive the award.

Minister for Culture and Tourism Mary Hanafin said Dublin was granted the accolade “because of the rich historical literary past of the city, the vibrant contemporary literature, the variety of festivals and attractions available and because it is the birthplace and home of literary greats”.

The title was bestowed on Dublin by Unesco director-general Irina Bokova. The previous recipients of the title, which is permanent, are Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City.

A detailed application for the designation was made to Unesco last November by a group led by Dublin City Council’s library service. Unesco was also lobbied by political and cultural bodies from Ireland.


Ms Hanafin said the designation would be a welcome boost for cultural tourism in Dublin in the coming years.

“Dublin is now part of the Unesco creative cities network and there will be numerous opportunities to showcase all that is happening on the cultural and literary fronts in the months and years ahead,” she said.

“Being one of only four cities in the world to achieve the status of Unesco city of literature, will enable Dublin to increase its market share of tourists and attract more people to both the city and the island of Ireland.”

The National Library of Ireland, Dublin City Council and the Arts Council have all welcomed the news.

“Literature has the unique power to distinguish us as a culture and as a people. It helps us understand what it means to be human. In Dublin, the city has been defined by its writers, and continues to be remade and discovered through their words,” Arts Council director Mary Cloake said.

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll is an Assistant News Editor with The Irish Times