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Republic of Ireland: The Best Literary Spots

  • Glasnevin Cemetery (County Dublin): Besides being the setting for part of Ulysses, this is the resting place of James Joyce's parents and other members of his family. The English-born poet Gerard Manley Hopkins is buried here, in the Jesuit plot. Maud Gonne, the Irish nationalist and longtime Dublin resident who is said to have inspired Yeats's play Cathleen nȷ Houlihan, is buried in the Republican plot. The writer, drinker, and Irish Republican Brendan Behan is also buried here.

  • Davy Byrnes Pub: In Ulysses Joyce describes the main character, Leopold Bloom, stopping in at this Dublin pub for a Gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy. "He raised his eyes and met the stare of a bilious clock. Two. Pub clock five minutes fast. Time going on. Hands moving. Two. Not yet." Today the clock is said to be kept 5 minutes fast, in honor of Bloom and Joyce.

  • Dublin Writers Museum: With Joyce's typewriter, handwritten letters from Brendan Behan to friends back home, and early flyers from the Abbey Theatre when it was run by Lady Gregory and Yeats, this museum is heaven for bookish types. You can spend hours reading the memorabilia, and marveling at the trivia. The only thing it lacks is a good shop.

  • James Joyce Museum: At the edge of the sea in the Dublin suburb of Sandycove, this Martel tower was home to Joyce for a short time, but he based a character on his host, Oliver St. John Gogarty, described in Ulysses perfectly as "stately, plump Buck Mulligan." The museum was opened in 1962, and its interior has been restored to look as it did when Joyce was here, along with plenty of memorabilia, including Joyce's walking stick and guitar.

  • St. Patrick's Cathedral (County Dublin): Jonathan Swift tickled and horrified the world with his vicious wit. He shook up political establishments with his sarcasm, and nauseated the English-speaking world with his suggestion that people should dine on Irish babies. While kicking up such a stir, he was dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, which sponsored and supported him through it all. He is buried here alongside his longtime companion, Stella.

  • County Sligo: With its many connections to the beloved poet W.B. Yeats, this county is a pilgrimage destination for Yeats fans. The poet's writing was shaped by the landscape and people in this farming region, and many of its monuments -- including Lough Gill, Glencar Lake, Ben Bulben Mountain, and Maeve's tomb -- appear in his poetry. There are also several museums housing first editions, photographs, and other memorabilia, and Yeats's dark and somber grave is in Drumcliff.

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