Lonely Planet Writer

Two James Joyce landmarks are set to be rejuvenated in Dublin

Two famous James Joyce landmarks in Dublin are getting a makeover in the coming years to delight literary fans.

James Joyce statue, Dublin.
James Joyce statue, Dublin. Image by Roy Rainford / robertharding

The Ulysses Centre is scheduled for an autumn 2018 opening in the historic Newman House, the original home of University College Dublin. It aims to provide an immersive and interactive exhibition on famous Irish writers, including George Bernard Shaw, Edna O’Brien, Seamus Heaney and Roddy Doyle to name just a few.  

There will be a special emphasis on James Joyce at the centre, who spent time as a student at Newman House. The location also features in the writer’s first novel A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man. British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins also lived in the building for the five years prior to his death in 1889.

Newman House has a rich literary tradition and will be the site of the new Ulysses Centre.
Newman House has a rich literary tradition and will be the site of the new Ulysses Centre. Image by FRAN CAFFREY/AFP/Getty Images

As well as the permanent and temporary exhibitions, there will be tours, a lecture and performance space and space for students from around to globe to study, create and collaborate on academic projects based on Ireland’s vibrant literary heritage. The centre will also allow visitors to explore and discover contemporary writers.

Another Joycean landmark is also set for a thorough renovation. The Ormond Hotel, the setting for the Sirens chapter of Ulysses, has been given the green light to be transformed into a boutique hotel after lying derelict for more than a decade.

While the original plans raised some objections by the Save Joycean Dublin committee, nothing remains of the original Georgian buildings of Joyce’s time, which were torn down in the 1930’s. These more modern buildings are likely to be demolished to make way for the new hotel. The architects plan to celebrate the association by embedding some of the text of the Ormond Hotel chapter into the floor and courtyard in bronze letters.

Monteco Holdings, who own the site, have said the new development will, “respect and restore the site incorporating its Joycean heritage” and plan to have it open in 2019. The Ormond Hotel is just one stop during Dublin’s famous Bloomsday festival. In accordance with the timeline of Ulysses, visitors can follow Leopold Bloom’s footsteps on 16 June by visiting the hotel at 4pm.


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