About the Museum of Literature (MoLI)
When I speak to couples who imagine their wedding in an an intimate and opulent setting, surrounded by rich history and literary legends, I tell them the Museum of Literature Ireland (also known as the MoLI) is the venue for them. Couples who appreciate this city’s love of literature know that MoLI is the perfect wedding setting. Just traverse through Dublin and you’ll find a myriad of bookshops, historic libraries, literary plaques and statues. Some of the world’s most famous writers called Dublin home.
Founded in 2019 and encapsulated in Numbers 85 and 86 of St Stephen’s Green, these two buildings have also served as a university, a museum, and the townhouse of one of Ireland’s most infamous playboys and adventurers – Buck Whaley. MoLI is designed to be a dynamic and immersive museum that explores and celebrates Irish literature, from its rich history to contemporary contributions. The museum aims to engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds in the world of Irish writing and literary creativity.
Couples who choose the Museum of Literature Ireland have access to the gardens outside, including the beautiful Iveagh Gardens, which were originally owned by the Guinness family. The Iveagh house is located just a few doors down from the MoLI.
A relatively new addition to the cultural scene in downtown Dublin, it is a dedicated museum that celebrates the rich literary heritage of Ireland and its literary luminaries. MoLI is a partnership between University College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland. Inside the hidden historic rooms of the MoLI, you will find yourself encompassed by Georgian lavishness and you and your guests will join the ranks of all the fascinating characters that have passed through over the centuries.
Why I Love Planning Weddings at MoLI
Intimate weddings at MoLI are a joy to plan. It is stylish and elegant and offers opportunities for celebration both inside and out. I relish creating an atmosphere of exclusivity for you and your cherished friends and family to focus on the moment at hand. The couple who chooses to wed at The Museum of Literature Ireland likely prefers to be surrounded by their closest loved ones, desires a more private event, and revels in the historical and literary significance of a venue like MoLI. Fun Fact: The nickname “MoLI” hints to James Joyce’s heroine in Ulysses: Molly Bloom.)
This means their wedding will include a special entrance reserved only for guests at No. 85 St. Stephen’s Green where your ceremony will be held. When the “I Do’s” are finished, everyone can retire to the adjoining Saloon for a lavish cocktail hour. Wedding photos can be staged in Dublin’s famous Iveagh Gardens or in the Reader’s Garden, which has its own access. Private dining options are available upon request.
MoLI Ceremony and Reception Spaces
The Readers Garden
Newly landscaped, the Courtyard and Readers Garden are meant to be a place of peace and enjoyment. A quiet space for learning and reading. They are famous for two protected trees, one being the ash tree that James Joyce had his graduation picture taken against. The other is a Killarney Strawberry tree. (James Joyce is pictured below, second from left, graduating at UCD Newman House in 1902.)
Commonly known as Ireland’s “secret garden”, Iveagh Gardens is a stunning green space located just behind The Reader’s Garden. A public park with humble beginnings, the Gardens were started in 1756 under the title of “Clonmell Lawns”. In 1939, the space was offered to the chancellor of University College Dublin as a “gift to the nation”. The garden features a large sunken lawn, a pond, a boating tower, a cascading waterfall that flows over rocks from each of Ireland’s 32 counties, and a maze that is a miniature copy of London’s Hampton Court Maze.
Iveagh Gardens are a beautiful place, surrounded by buildings, and located close to the Museum. Iveagh Gardens are a little harder to find but so worth the effort! They are dedicated to Irish novelist, Maeve Binchy, providing yet another literary link. And, while weddings are not currently permitted there, couples can obtain a permit to use it as a location for wedding photos. I encourage romantic and literary couples to incorporate small nods to their favourite stories into their wedding design and photography. If you need a little help visualizing what this kind of theme could be, read my post: Literary Wedding Inspiration for a Romantic Dublin Destination Wedding.
Commons Cafe is a stunning space with a modern design. Built in the original student dining hall of the University College Dublin, this venue has long been the setting for the gathering of close friends. In fact, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins lived here during his time as Professor of Classics at the university, and James Joyce was a student here before graduating with a BA in 1902. Other famous Irish writers to have studied at UCD Newman House include Flann O’Brien, Kate O’Brien and Maeve Binchy.
Led by sisters Domini and Peaches Kemp, Commons Cafe prioritizes Ireland’s fresh produce and culinary heritage. Set in the original student dining halls of UCD Newman House, the Commons has long been a space for sharing food and ideas amongst friends. Couples fall in love with the original artwork and curated culinary quotes. For events, the cafe opens out onto the Courtyard Garden, creating a masterful blend of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Newman House, where MoLi is located, is a magnificent historic space. With its marble floors, Cuban mahogany staircase, and lavishly-detailed plasterwork, it is a unique Dublin wedding venue. To do it justice, one might follow cues from this styled shoot I produced.
The table design featured earthy tones and rich, dark ones, with luxe details like custom calligraphy layered with simple household items to play out the juxtaposition of the blue and green palette. Aged wooden farm tables were chosen to bring character, balanced with delicate natural greenery, in the form of ferns and succulents. Layers of dots and petal-like patterns at each place setting modernised the rustic setting, while votives in copper glass holders and emerald green taper candles created an intimate, elegant feel.
Old Physics Theatre
The Old Physics Theatre is bursting with timeless style. The ballroom, decorated in neo-Gothic décor, features handmade wallpaper, beautiful high-arched windows, and an impressive chandelier. The entire room has an ethereal golden glow. It’s a wonderful option for an intimate wedding in Dublin, with space for private dining for up to 60 people. It also made a gorgeous backdrop for this photo shoot: Contemporary Vintage Bridal Style at the Museum of Literature Ireland Wedding Venue, which combined vintage sensibility and retro flair with modern romance!
Experiences and Events Nearby
For those that plan on spending some time in the city, Dublin offers a wealth of popular tourist attractions for visitors to explore. The city is also known for its lively pub culture, scenic parks, and welcoming atmosphere, making it a great destination for travelers interested in history, culture, and entertainment. Here are some of the most well-known and highly recommended attractions in the city:
Keeping it within a 15-min walking distance, you and your guests can explore St. Patrick’s Cathedral. One of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Ireland and steeped in history, visitors admire its magnificent architecture and explore the beautiful gardens. The National Museum of Ireland is home to several branches of the National Museum, each focusing on different aspects of Irish culture and history. The Archaeology Museum, Natural History Museum, and Decorative Arts and History Museum are all worth exploring. Art enthusiasts can appreciate the extensive collection of European and Irish art at the National Gallery, which includes works by renowned artists such as Caravaggio and Jack B. Yeats. Lastly, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university, and it houses the world-renowned Book of Kells, a beautifully illuminated manuscript. Visitors can also explore the historic campus and the Long Room library.
Just a bit farther, Dublinia offers an engaging look into Dublin’s Viking and medieval history with interactive displays and reconstructions of historical scenes. Dublin Castle has played a pivotal role in Irish history and is known for its stunning architecture. You can tour the State Apartments, the Chapel Royal, and the Dubhlinn Gardens. Lastly, the iconic Temple Bar. Dublin’s cultural quarter is known for its vibrant atmosphere, featuring numerous bars, restaurants, galleries, and street art. It’s a hub for nightlife, entertainment, and the arts.
To stay within a literary theme, there are a handful of writer-focused locations to be sure to see. This includes The Dublin Writers Museum (featuring exhibits and memorabilia related to Ireland’s literary greats), The James Joyce Centre (exhibitions, lectures and walking tours dedicated to the life and works of Joyce), The W.B. Yeats Exhibition (celebrates the life of the poet and is located in the National Library of Ireland in Dublin), and The Oscar Wilde House (showcases the famous playwright’s life, works and contributions to literature and culture).
Jump on a bus and you can visit Kilmainham Gaol. A former prison turned museum, Kilmainham Gaol provides insights into Ireland’s turbulent history, particularly during the struggle for independence. It’s a significant historical site. While you’re on that side of town, locate Phoenix Park and visit the Dublin Zoo. It’s a popular family attraction with a wide variety of animals from around the world. It offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Centrally located in the heart of Dublin, on the south side of St. Stephen’s Green, there are many methods of travel to get to the MoLI. Once in Dublin however, your guests can use other city centre landmarks to find their way. MoLI is about 10 minutes’ walk from Merrion Square, the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Museum, Dáil Éireann and Trinity College.
I like to remind my couples that there are areas of the MoLI that are not wheelchair accessible. If you intend on inviting a guest that will need additional mobility requirements, the MoLI is able to assist them in accessing the building. However, there are many other available areas at the MoLI that do not require additional assistance for those with limited mobility.
Let’s Plan a Wedding at MoLI
Planning intimate weddings at MoLI is a delightful experience. The venue exudes style and elegance, providing ample opportunities for celebration both indoors and outdoors. My aim is to create an atmosphere of exclusivity, so that you and your cherished friends and family can focus on the moment at hand. If you’re eager to tie the knot at The Museum of Literature Ireland, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Museum of Literature Ireland Venue at a Glance
Address: UCD Naughton Joyce Centre, 86 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
Phone: +353 1 716 5900
Capacity: 60 guests
Slán go Fóill,