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Museum of Literature Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Museum of Literature Ireland 2

The Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) is the result of a creative alliance between two unique assets—the National Library of Ireland’s Joyce collections and the University College Dublin’s most significant historical property, the Newman House. MoLI is the first museum in the world dedicated to the Irish literary tradition.

Museum of Literature Ireland 4
Museum of Literature Ireland 4

Ireland’s writers have made profound literary contributions—from William Butler Yeats and Samuel Beckett to Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. MoLI celebrates this storied tradition, providing a sweeping overview of Irish language and literature, while exploring how and why this island nation has produced so many important authors.

Museum of Literature Ireland 6
Museum of Literature Ireland 6

RAA was tasked with creating an engaging experience for all ages and visitors. The interpretive challenge was significant: to present, in two languages, 1,500 years of writing in a way that visitors would find both familiar and, at times, surprising. The museum would need to address the language and gender imbalances of the Irish literary canon, while celebrating its writers and inviting visitors into this specific subject. Rare manuscripts would form the core of the exhibits and foster an immersive engagement with the written word.

Museum of Literature Ireland 1

The museum desires to have an impact on producing new generations of writers. On the top floor, visitors can study Joyce’s notebooks and learn about his unique writing process, then they can listen to prompts from contemporary writers before writing “a first line” themselves. In this way, the journey through the museum is also one from reading others to writing yourself.

Museum of Literature Ireland 7

Size 1,100 square metres

Year 2019

Architect Scott Tallon Walker Architects

Project Details


Audio-Visual IntegrationRockbrook (Installation); Sysco (Design Phases)

Interactive MediaSquint Opera; Coda to Coda

LightingMichael Grubb Studios

AwardsCreative Review Annual: Honourable MentionDesign Award of the Federal Republic of Germany (German Design Award): Special Mention, Fair and ExhibitionGOOD DESIGN® Award: Winner, EnvironmentsIndustrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), International Design Excellence Award (IDEA): Gold, EnviromentsMuseums + Heritage Awards: Shortlisted, The International Project of the YearRed Dot Award: Winner, Design of Temporary Exhibition

Museum of Literature Ireland 8

Photography Andrew Lee