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Lit Major Abroad

The Most Famous Door in Dublin

joycecentre2Merry Christmas, my fellow book lovers! Now that the Festive Season is drawing to a slow, quiet end, I thought I’d share some more from my trip. I’ve spent the last few days in Europe visiting family. I’ve been without internet, which can be both liberating and stressful. If you’re the sort of person who checks the weather intermittently on their phone (as though by checking it every five minutes you can somehow control it), or can’t keep track of their spending without firing up a Google Doc, you’ll understand why I use the word ‘stressful’.

But that’s not why I’m here today. I want to talk about my last day in Dublin, which was actually much more than a week ago (but let’s pretend I’m more organised than that and I wrote this up sooner). We managed to get quite a few exciting literary-themed activities into the day. Our two main writers for the day were James Joyce and W.B. Yeats.

In the morning we set off for the north part of Dublin and a nondescript little row house which claimed to be The James Joyce Centre. The sign outside promised a veritable feast of activities:

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Lit Major Abroad

Journalism and Literature: Dublin Day Two and Some Fun Facts

IMG_0315.2“The difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read.”

-Oscar Wilde

I’ve fallen sadly behind with recounting my trip to Europe. Apparently, after seven hours of wandering around in the chill of pre-Christmas London, the last thing you want to do is sit down and try to catch up on blog posts. I promise you, I always wake up with the best intentions, but no matter what I do, by the time I return home at night I fall straight into bed like I’ve forgotten what pillows feel like. Here is a rough idea of the way our day usually ends up going:

7am: Wake up. Look at the clock. Decide that it is ok to sleep for another ten minutes as am ‘on holiday’. Promptly fall into a deep sleep.

9am: Wake up and begin panicking because have already ‘wasted half the day’.

9:15am: Spend forty-five minutes getting dressed, drying hair, and putting on make-up. Perform complicated choreographed dance with sister as both of us try to use one air-raid-shelter-sized bathroom. Continue to panic and swear all the while for sleeping in so late.

Categories
Lit Major Abroad

This Statue of James Joyce Says I Must be in Dublin

IMG_0241.2Yes, this dapper statue of the famous James Joyce is here to tell you that I have left behind the sweltering heat of December in Australia to potter around Europe with my sister, a handful of books, and not nearly enough winter clothing to keep an ordinary human being from contracting pneumonia. Throughout my trip I’ll be sharing stories from some of the literary places I visit, including writers’ homes, literary museums, and – of course – bookshops.

My first stop is Dublin, Ireland’s capital and a UNESCO City of Literature. This, to me, sounds like an appropriate place for a eager lit major to start. So after one full day in Dublin (half of which, admittedly, was spent in a blissful jetlag-induced haze), what have I learnt about the city’s approach to literature?

Well, for one thing, they like to make jokes. Specifically, they like to make jokes about Ulysses, James Joyce’s behemoth of a book set in early twentieth-century Dublin. They are proud of it and amused by it in equal measure. It’s hard to hate a book that really put Dublin on the literary map, even if Joyce actually wrote most of it in Switzerland and France, where he ended up living until his death. Still, you’d never guess from the number of statues, museums, and mentions Joyce receives in Dublin.

There’s more to Dublin than just James Joyce, though. Ireland has a rich storytelling history which was highlighted in our first museum of the day: the National Leprechaun Museum on the city’s north side. Now, I know what you’re thinking. A museum dedicated to leprechauns? This is something to see.