Dublin Writers Museum closed as it ‘no longer meets the expectations of the contemporary visitor’

The Dublin Writers Museum “no longer lives up to the expectations of the contemporary museum-goer,” according to an evaluation conducted for its owner, Fáilte Ireland.

The Parnell Square Museum closed in March 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic and has remained “temporarily closed”.

According to the National Tourism Development Authority, two staff have retired and two new staff have been hired within Fáilte Ireland during this period.

It is now “exploring its options” for the building and its artifacts.

“We know from our work developing visitor attractions across the country that visitors are consistently looking for attractions that use modern and innovative storytelling to create impactful and immersive experiences,” it said.

In July 2020, the museum underwent a professional appraisal.

“As standards for the preservation and interpretation of heritage have evolved significantly in recent years, [it] concluded that the building at 18 Parnell Square “no longer meets the expectations of the contemporary museum-goer in terms of accessibility, presentation and interpretation,” says Fáilte Ireland.


In the Dublin Writers Museum. Archive image: Tourism Ireland

The Dublin Writers Museum, housed in a Georgian terrace overlooking the Garden of Remembrance, has long been an integral part of the city’s literary and tourism landscape.

It was owned and operated by Dublin Tourism from 1991 to 2012 before being acquired by Fáilte Ireland when Dublin Tourism merged into it in 2012.

It has several thousand artifacts, and highlights include a telephone that once belonged to Samuel Beckett, Austin Clarke’s desk, and a letter in which Brendan Behan described New York’s Broadway as “a great place for a quiet pee.”

The artefacts remain in the care of Fáilte Ireland – some owned, some on loan. It is now involved in a process to convert all “loaned” artifacts to “donated” status, it said.

Since the museum opened, there has been an increase in investment and the marketing of Dublin’s literary heritage.

Dublin became a UNESCO City of Literature in 2010, has expanded literary festivals and events and opened MoLI – the Museum of Literature Ireland at the end of 2019.


Inside the MoLI – The Literary Museum of Ireland

Similar to other newcomers and reboots, such as GOP Witness History, No. 14 Henrietta Street and the Custom House Visitor Centre, MoLI incorporates immersive and audiovisual elements that the Dublin Writers Museum lacked.

It’s also considered more accessible and inclusive than this iconic but aging attraction, whose exhibits were dominated by previous generations of mostly male writers.

News of its extended closure comes as Dublin’s Museum of Natural History (the ‘dead zoo’) reopens amid a major restoration and Trinity College prepares to close its Old Library for a three-year, €90million restoration .

Fáilte Ireland now says it is “exploring its options regarding the building and ensuring the collection is properly displayed and accessible to all”.

Future plans will be announced “by the end of the year”. Dublin Writers Museum closed as it ‘no longer meets the expectations of the contemporary visitor’

Fry Electronics Team

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