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Temple Bar in Dublin

Dublin literary pub crawl

Despite its modest size Dublin has produced a remarkable number of literary giants including Nobel laureates George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats and Samuel Beckett. James Joyce and Oscar Wilde were born here, Leopold Bloom (protagonist of Joyce's Ulysses) famously walked its shady streets and many others drank themselves into oblivion in the city's pubs.

This highly entertaining walk takes you around many of the most famous drinking dens where Irish writers went to discuss their work with fellow authors, editors and publishers in Dublin's tiny literary circle. Led by a team of animated actors, this pub crawl reveals many stories that you'll never come across in the history books.

You'll meet your guides and other members of the small group at The Duke, a Victorian pub in the heart of the city, in the early evening. The refreshingly original literary tour starts with a short introduction to the city and its plethora of writers.

You'll learn The Duke was once a regular haunt of James Joyce and Oliver St John Gogarty, who was the inspiration for the character of Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. Later, Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh and Brian O'Nolan (Flann O'Brien) would drink here, though rarely at the same time.

As you walk your guides enthusiastically reveal how Dublin's literary circle was so small and gossipy that disagreements and fallings-out were common. Writers would stomp off and set up shop on a different bar stool for a few months before coming back into the fold. Eventually they always did, as small homes and nagging wives meant that retreating to the nearest pub to nurse a pint, debate world order and discuss their work was always a better option than staying in.

The guides bring out the character and personality of Dublin's poets, playwrights and novelists with witty banter, funny anecdotes, snippets of personal information and insights into the fractured nature of the relationship between many of the writers.

As you stroll along the streets you come across numerous reminders of the city's rich contribution to literature and culture. You also begin to understand why UNESCO declared Dublin one of its first Cities of Literature.

Your guides quote effortlessly from the works of Joyce, Behan, Beckett or Yeats, and act out passages from their books. They'll introduce you to key locations mentioned in the writers' lives, such as Trinity College, as well as their preferred drinking holes of McDaid's, Mulligans, The Bailey and The Palace.

After about two hours, the tour finishes back at The Duke — and you can always slip back in for just one more pint.

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