In the last fortnight a great literary honour was bestowed on Dublin when it was named as the fourth Unesco City of Literature along with Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City, (whose university has produced 25 Pulitzer Prize Winners since 1955).
If you live in Dublin like I do, but even if you are just a casual visitor, it’s hard to miss its literary heritage.
The city is full of monuments and statues, plaques, pubs and restaurants that celebrate the spirit and works of the city’s literary figures, from Dean Swift, Sheridan, Boucicault and Synge to Wilde, Joyce, Yeats, Shaw, O’Casey, Beckett, Behan, and O’Brien.
The city’s living writers are just as much a fabric of the modern Dublin and include Booker Prize winners Roddy Doyle, and Anne Enright, as well as the internationally acclaimed Colm Toibin, Eavan Boland, Maeve Binchy and Joseph O’Connor.
Everyone here thinks that the city’s new status will help boost the city’s flagging tourist industry and it undoubtedly will.
Literary tours of the city are commonplace; there are regular book launches and readings; the bookshops are busy and mostly profitable.
Restaurants even cash in on our most famous authors – check out the excellent Chapter One at the top of Parnell Square the next time you’re in town. Next door is the Dublin Writer’s Museum.
Good for Dublin. Yet the Unesco award reminded me that another fantastic geo-literary project still goes unclaimed, despite my (albeit puny) efforts to publicise it.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story or subscribe to our PDF version.