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Living Irish Literature in Dublin

Written by Great Books on Thursday, January 17, 2019

Living Irish Literature in Dublin

A trip to Literary Dublin is a breathtaking journey through the city and its suburbs including coastal towns and seaside villages with spectacular scenery and landscapes. It is also a book lover's paradise because some of literature's most prolific authors and writers have called Dublin home. They include James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, William Butler Yeats, and George Bernard Shaw.

Dublin’s legendary literary history is what makes it an ideal setting for the Great Books Summer Program. Each summer, students from around the world attend our one-week program of academics and exploration as they immerse themselves in Dublin’s city history, folklore, and the literature it inspired.

Students study in the hallowed halls of Trinity College, whose literary alumni include Wilde, Swift, and Stoker. Each morning students take part in Shared Inquiry seminars and engaging discussions focused on the works of great Irish writers such as Joyce, Yeats, Shaw, and, of course, Swift and Wilde. After reading these inspiring texts, students get to live their literature, touring the streets of Dublin and exploring the sites that inspired the stories they just read.

Student & Parent Perspectives

Saira, a 2-Year Camper

"This program attracted so many interested, intelligent and kind students that I was able to make a number of strong bonds and friendships within the week. Not only did I meet some incredible people, but I also got to learn so much about Irish history and culture that I would never have been able to learn about from a classroom at home. The best part of the whole experience was walking around the city and learning about Ireland from people who knew so much about the country! I'm so glad I had the opportunity to participate in such a life-changing program, and I'm so thankful for the experience," said Saira.

Saira and Jack

Parents of Jack, a 3-Year Camper

"Jack felt like an experienced world traveler the second time he attended the program in Dublin. That is I think a huge tribute to the Great Books Program. Aside from having an amazing experience, I think it has helped jack's self-confidence. He loved the classes where often times they would have spirited debates etc. Jack enjoyed traveling around the country and learning so many interesting things, while also having the opportunity to meet students from around the world. We always talk about the program and how much Jack has enjoyed it. We look forward to Jack returning again for his fourth year at Great Books and his third year abroad. As a family, we cannot say enough about the program and everyone affiliated with it," said Ann Smalls.



Here is a ‘sneak peek’ of our student program tour highlighting the best of Dublin’s literature, art, and historical landmarks.



The Library of Trinity College Dublin

If you’re a true bibliophile, Trinity College’s Old Library is the holy grail for book lovers. The library’s history dates back to the establishment of the college in 1592 and it is the largest library in Ireland. Today, it has over six million printed volumes with extensive collections of journals, manuscripts, maps, and music reflecting over 400 years of academic development.

Long Room

The Long Room in the Library 

An awe-inspiring site inside the library is the Long Room, built in the early 1700s. At nearly 65 meters in length, the room is filled with 200,000 of the library’s oldest books in its oak bookcases and is one of the most impressive libraries in the world.

Historical Treasures in the Library

The library is also home to many remarkable treasures that represent the Irish identity. The library houses the Book of Kells, a 9th-century gospel manuscript that is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure. The library also has a rare copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the 15th-century wooden harp in the library, which is the model for the emblem of Ireland.



National Writer’s Museum

Nestled within the gorgeous original architecture of an 18th-century Georgian Mansion, the National Writer’s Museum pays tribute to Ireland’s great writers of the past and present. The Dublin Writers Museum celebrates the country’s literary heroes and through its exhibitions, outlines the milestones of key writers over the past three hundred years, including Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, and Samuel Beckett.

Merrion Square

See where Oscar Wilde lived and walk the nearby beautiful Georgian garden square called Merrion Square. Each year, our students explore the grounds and can’t miss out on the opportunity to pose with the statue that commemorates the famous Irish poet and playwright.



National Gallery of Ireland

After a walk through Merrion Square, the next logical stop is The National Gallery of Ireland that houses the national collection of Irish and European art. It was founded in 1854 and opened its doors ten years later. The Gallery has an extensive, representative collection of Irish paintings and is also notable for its Italian Baroque and Dutch masters' paintings.


Historic Landmarks

Ireland’s Eye


There are few landscapes that rival the stunning coastal beauty of Ireland's Eye. It comprises the main island, a range of rocks and an islet called Thulla. The most spectacular feature is the huge freestanding rock called "the Stack," at the northeastern corner of the island. Ireland’s Eye is just one example of the diverse landscapes students can behold, all while remaining within the Dublin County limits.

Dublin Castle

During its lifetime, Dublin Castle has been used as a military fortress, a prison, treasury, courts of law, and the seat of English Administration in Ireland. It is now a major government complex and a key tourist attraction. Dublin Castle has appeared in a number of films including Barry Lyndon,  Michael Collins , Becoming Jane, and The Medallion . It was also used in the television series The Tudors , where it doubles as the Vatican in the pilot.


Christ Church

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin's oldest building and one of the top visitor attractions in Dublin with its beautiful interior and fascinating medieval crypt. It is home to the tomb of Strongbow, leader of the Normans, who captured Dublin in 1170. The Medieval Crypt, the largest in Ireland, extends under the entire Cathedral and contains the mummified Cat and Rat, trapped in the organ in the 1860s. 


Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as a prison. It closed its doors in 1924. Kilmainham Gaol held some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history such as Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, the 1916 Rising leaders, and Eamon de Valera. Today, the building symbolizes the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-23.

Adventures Abroad

Dublin is one of three, abroad options available for Great Books students including Oxford and Beijing. Many of our students pair our two-week Literary Oxford program with our one-week Dublin session for a multi-cultural European adventure. Learn more about Dublin now and join us this summer.

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