More than 101 years after a row with the proposed publishers of Dubliners led James Joyce to leave Ireland for the last time, his alma mater UCD has revealed plans to dedicate a museum to the writer at its Newman House buildings on Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green.
A large room known as Aula Maxima, interlinking the two buildings, will house a permanent Joyce museum as part of a joint plan between UCD and the National Library of Ireland.
Joyce graduated from UCD in 1902 and his links with the college will be the primary focus, but the museum will also include items relating to other writers with UCD links, among them Mary Lavin, Flann O’Brien, Gerald Manley Hopkins and Cardinal Newman, for whom the buildings are named.
The museum is given a provisional opening date of early 2016, and while costs haven’t been revealed the Irish Times has estimated that it the project may run to as much as €20m.
An estimate of 140,000 visitors per annum has also been declared, a figure which represents approximately 14% of the annual pilgrims to the Guinness Storehouse, but then that ratio is probably to be expected given the level of marketing invested in the home of the black stuff (both in-house and by the State).
The announcement of a new museum should not overshadow the fact that there are already at least two Joyce museums in Dublin – the James Joyce Tower and Museum in the Martello Tower at Sandycove (currently closed for renovations until February) and the James Joyce Centre on North Great George’s Street in Dublin city centre.
The James Joyce Centre hosts The Dead Weekend from January 4-6 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the publication of Dubliners, which first went to press in January 1914 – on an initial print run of 1250, according to this resource.
There are a series of talks and workshops about The Dead and its influences, and while the cost for the whole weekend is a not insignificant €180, there are some events that are free-but-booking-required, most notably the closing talk by the always eloquent and informative Joyce scholar Declan Kiberd on Monday, January 6th, titled “Dubliners: The First Hundred Years”.