International Literature Festival Dublin

Luke McLeod | Last Updated 23 April 2024 | 5 Minute Read

The International Literature Festival Dublin has taken place for 25 years. In 2024, they are set to host the 26th edition of the festival. Inspiring writers, poets and storytellers to master the craft of writing through writing workshops, readings and classes. 

Importance of literary festivals in promoting literature and supporting writers

The International Literature Festival Dublin has a great importance in the promotion of all literaries from the finest writers to book launches of up and coming artists. The annual festival gathers people from every corner of this island of storytellers into Merrion Square Park. For 10 days between May 17th & 26th, the park turns into a literary oasis with four stages and a workshop area for master classes. This comes with a dedicated zone for avid readers at the festival, along with a library to borrow some material.  

You won't go hungry with five food trucks on the green offering up some hearty eats. With tonnes of picnic tables and plenty of green areas to sit, you can grab a pint from the Big Romance Bar and wine and dine in style. 

As with all events, there are toilets, first aid, baby changing areas, info points and security dotted around the park for your convenience. 

Discover the 2024 International Literature Festival site map now.

History of the International Literature Festival Dublin

Since the first edition in 2005, then known as the Dublin Writer's Festival or the Dublin Book Festival, the event has seen tremendous growth. What started out as a two day meet up in Temple Bar with publishers, book stalls and small talks has now become a major event spanning 11 days. 

The evolution over the years has seen further funding by Dublin city council to broaden the literary events. This includes prominent participants from Ireland and international minds to help celebrate the cultural heritage of literature. 

The number of kids & family events has increased, with mentoring sessions to Comic Book Workshops and creative writing classes. The literary calendar of events isn't only aimed at the younger generation. 

Walking tours have become popular at the literary festival, with tonnes of novels, crime fiction and biographies based in the fair city. A walking tour submerges you into the pages of your favourite story, allowing you to feel the setting of the protagonist. One such tour is that of 'The Brendan Behan Songbook with Donal Fallon & Fergus Whelan'. As you roam through the city, discover the places that inspired the playwright, poet and performer. 

Within the literary culture festival, there will also be performances of music and acting through the stages and also on street entertainment. This is one of many opportunities for people to take in some extra performances for free. 

It wouldn't be an International literary festival without a number of special guests and fellow writers. One stand out festival event is hosted by Maylis Besserie. Who discusses the art of fictionalising the real lives of artists. Exploring numerous writers and artists from Francis Bacon to Samuel Beckett and W. B. Yeats.

For the lovers of Irish language writing, the annual literature festival has a handful of events from numerous writers. Blending gáire le Gaeilge is the plan for Áine Gallagher as her "for the love of milseáin' mixture to the Byzantium stage. 

Where is it held?

The International literature festival is held each year in Merrion Square Park, which is about a 15 to 20 minute walk from the Arthaus Hotel. Synonymous with culture in the city, the Arthaus Hotel is located in the heart of Dublin's cultural quarter on Mercer Street.  The hotel is just seconds away from Stephen's Green, Grafton Street and the Iveagh Gardens. When you stay at the Arthaus, you open up a world of opportunity to a voyage of discovery.  Check into the Arthaus during the literary and arts festival, you can see our rooms and the art on display in each of them now!

Community Level Engagement

Ensuring the next generation stays inspired, the International literature festival invites a number of schools to the park. In a class writers will never forget, the young masters can listen to readings, attend the awards and meet some of the worlds accomplished story writers.

Accessibility at the festival

Most of the venues at the festivals are accessible. While there is a large number of seats, the hosts cannot guarantee that all requests can be met. No seats are reservable, and accessible seating cannot be assigned to those who may not need it.


Like the Arthaus hotel, the festival has launched a successful collaboration around the popular theme of sustainability. All tickets will be e-tickets, this reduces paper waste at the events. The banners from last years festival, have been recycled into bags, which are on sale at this years festival.  The generators used throughout Merrion Square park will be vegetable fueled. No, that doesn't mean the scraps from the kitchen, but HVO or Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil. Finally, all bars, restaurants and concessions must use compostable or biodegradable packaging and plastics.

The Wrap Up

The festival transforms Merrion Square Park into a literary hub for 10 days, featuring multiple stages, workshops, and a dedicated area for readers. Attendees can enjoy food from various food trucks, relax in picnic areas, and grab drinks from the Big Romance Bar.  Since its inception in 2005, the event has expanded significantly, now spanning 11 days and attracting both local and international participants. Funding from the Dublin City Council has contributed to this growth, allowing for a diverse range of literary events catering to all ages. There are a number of fantastic opportunities for writers to get their work in the hands of publishers, and for those attending to meet some of the most know figures in literary heritage.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the ILFD

A: No, You can attend the festival area and some events for free. However, there are other events and shows which are ticketed.

A: Absolutely! Enjoy storytelling, book readings, and workshops for all ages. Check the program for family-oriented events.

About the Author

Meet our passionate and seasoned Travel and Culture Editor, Luke McLeod. With an insatiable wanderlust and an unquenchable thirst for cultural exploration, Luke is your trusted guide to unlocking the soul of Ireland. 

With years of experience in the realms of travel and culture journalism, Luke has made it their mission to hand-pick the most captivating and authentic experiences that the Emerald Isle has to offer. 

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