My busiest research day was definitely today. I was coming from Belfast with a few other girls from the program, and we took the train down. We arrived at about 10 am, and we hit the ground running. I did my research beforehand and found a couple of key sites that I knew I wanted to see. This way we could just go explore and not worry about where to go next.
The first place was the National Library of Ireland because they close at 12:45 pm on Saturdays.
By the time we got there, it was 11:00 am. After I got my reader’s card, it was about 11:30 am, and I only had an hour or so to peruse their collection. On their OPAC, I had found 1,458 results for Oscar Wilde. I got there too late for them to pull any of the items I had seen online. However, they do have some Oscar Wilde related items digitized, so I can look at them online when I go to write my paper. I did get a chance to explore their library beyond their Oscar Wilde materials. I found that they had a nice library with a gorgeous reading room. I wish I had been able to get there earlier, but logistically there was no way to get there any sooner.
Afterwards, we headed over to Oscar Wilde’s house. It was strange because I thought it would be a major tourist destination and a big moneymaker for Dublin tourism. However it’s closed to the public. It’s owned by the American College Dublin, and academics live in it. Even though I couldn’t go inside it, I still got to see the outside.
Plus, their website shows pictures of the inside of the building. The house is in a beautiful, historic area, but it was very quiet, which I found surprising. I was expecting a lot more tourists to be around, but it was nice to be able to pause and take a picture without having to move super fast.
Right across from Oscar Wilde’s house is a statue of him. It’s still in Merrion Square, and it looks right at his house. This statue is by far one of the most entertaining statues I have seen.
He is dressed so elegantly and is just lounging on a rock looking ever so untroubled and careless. There are two glass pillars next to his statue, and there are some of his quotes engraved on them.
Overall, I really liked this hometown monument to Wilde because it felt true to his persona.
The next day, we made our final Oscar Wilde stop in Dublin: the Writer’s Museum.
The museum had exhibits on many Irish literary greats such as Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, etc. For someone who knew little about any of them, this museum would be extremely helpful. There were little bios for each author, which was usually placed in context of their time period or literary movement. I found a few new authors to check out and learned some new things about authors I already liked. The museum didn’t allow pictures of the exhibits, but they were very well done.
After leaving Dublin, I felt like I had learned more about Oscar Wilde. Even though I didn’t get to see the inside of where he lived, I got to see and be in some of the same places he was. I also got to explore the town that he grew up in. It gave me a new perspective on Wilde, which I know will prove helpful when I start to write my paper.