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Dublin named a UNESCO City of Literature

The land of saints and scholars is recognised on the world stage – and is just the fourth city given the honour.

Dublin is the home to many literary greats like James Joyce.
Image: Phil Guest via Flickr

DUBLIN HAS BEEN named a City of Literature by UNESCO – just the fourth city in the world to be given the title.

UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation – began bestowing the title on cities in 2004, and has given the title on just three occasions in the past.

Dublin becomes just the second city in Europe to be given the title, after Edinburgh in 2004. The other cities given the title are Melbourne and Iowa City.

Culture minister Mary Hanafin has welcomed the accolade, saying Dublin had won the title because of “the rich historical literary past of the city, the vibrant contemporary literature, the variety of festivals and attractions available and because it is the birthplace and home of literary greats.

“Names such as Swift, O’Casey, Wilde, Shaw, Behan, Beckett and Joyce are synonymous with Dublin and there are reminders of their great literary works throughout the city – which captures both scholars’ and tourists’ imaginations when they visit the city.”

UNESCO’s criteria for being named a City of Literature include a healthy and diverse quality of publishing in the city, a high number of literary events and bookstores, and an active involvement of traditional and new media in promoting literature.

Hanafin says she hopes the title will boost tourism to the city.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Gerry Breen, said he was “absolutely delighted about this achievement – which confirms what Dubliners have known for years. This is a city that has always produced – and continues to produce – great writers.”

The title comes after a campaign led by the City Council’s library service.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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