By Vivien Igoe
MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland, which is pronounced ‘Molly’, as in Molly the wife of Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, is a major partnership between University College, Dublin, and the National Library of Ireland.
This new and exciting landmark institution, was motivated by the genius and influence of James Joyce, UCD’s most famous student. It is located in the historic Newman House on the south side of St. Stephen’s Green, where Joyce was a student from 1898-1902.
The 10,000 metres of exhibition space of the museum is located in the transformed Aula Maxima where there will be a permanent exhibition on Joyce and temporary exhibitions on other Irish authors together with valuable artefacts from the collections from the National Library.
Number 85, St. Stephen’s Green, designed by Richard Cassels, was built in 1738 with the plasterwork attributed to the Francini brothers. The adjoining townhouse number 86, attributed to Robert West, was completed in 1765. These two restored Georgian buildings together with the Victorian Aula Maxima are collectively known as Newman House. Apart from being the alma mater of James Joyce, Newman House has a remarkable history concerning not just the buildings, but also the characters that frequented it.