Charles Dickens and Ireland.

Charles Dickens and Ireland.2018-07-25T21:25:20+00:00

 

The Victorian author Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) visited Ireland on three occasions, all as part of public reading tours, in 1858, 1867 and 1869.

We have attempted to put together the daily movements of Dickens whilst in Ireland during his three visits based on material such as letters, newspaper reports and articles. There are some small gaps and we would be grateful for any information to make it into a comprehensive list.

 


1858 Reading Tour.

It was as part of a national reading tour in 1858 – that had included England and Scotland – that Charles Dickens first visited Ireland, coming during the summer of that year. His itinerary whilst in the country included giving performances in the cities of Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Limerick as well as a chance to do some sightseeing. Dickens travelled with his tour manager, Arthur Smith.

Advertisement for Charles Dickens 1858 readings in Belfast (published in The Ulsterman newspaper, 25 August 1858).

The itinerary we have been able to compile during this tour appears to be as follows:

  • August 21 (Saturday). Dickens travels overnight by ferry from Holyhead in north Wales, arriving in Dublin. Whilst in the city he stays at the Morrison’s Hotel, Nassau Street.
  • August 22 (Sunday). Dickens travels around Dublin, sightseeing.
  • August 23 (Monday). Gives reading of A Christmas Carol at the Rotunda (now the Ambassador Theatre), 8pm.
  • August 24 (Tuesday). Gives reading at the Rotunda (now the Ambassador Theatre), 8pm.
  • August 25 (Wednesday). Gives reading at the Rotunda (now the Ambassador Theatre), 8pm.
  • August 26 (Thursday). Final Dublin performance of the tour. Gives readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit at the Rotunda (now the Ambassador Theatre), 8pm.
  • August 27 (Friday). Takes a train from Dublin to Belfast. In the evening, Dickens gives his first Belfast performance at the Victoria Hall with a reading from A Christmas Carol. Crowds surge into the venue when the doors open, which police are unable to control, leading to many people sitting in the wrong seats.
  • August 28 (Saturday). In the morning, Dickens takes a walk from Belfast to Carrickfergus and back. Returns to give an afternoon reading of the story of Little Paul from Dombey and Son. In the evening he gives another public performance, with readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit.
  • August 30 (Monday). Travels from Belfast to Cork. Gives a reading of A Christmas Carol at 8pm at the Athenaeum.
  • August 31 (Tuesday). Cork. Gives two more public readings at the Athenaeum, at 1.30pm and at 8pm.
  • September 1 (Wednesday). Travels to Limerick, final stop in his tour of Ireland. Stays at the Royal Hotel and performs two readings at the Theatre Royal. In the evening he reads from A Christmas Carol at 8pm. Dickens received large applause at the end of the performance, local newspaper Limerick Reporter describing the scene as follows:

Mr. Dickens was received in the most flattering manner, and after he withdrew repeated applause called him before the audience, to whom he gratefully acknowledged their appreciation of his merit.

  • September 2 (Thursday). Limerick. Writes from the Royal Hotel to his nephew describing the success of his readings in Dublin, Belfast and Cork. At 8pm, Dickens gives readings from The Poor Traveller, The Boots at the Hollytree Inn, and the Mrs. Gamp episode from Martin Chuzzlewit at the Theatre Royal. A reporter from the Limerick Reporter, present for both of the performances in the town, described what Charles Dickens was wearing:

On both evenings Mr. Dickens was dressed in the most fashionable evening costume. There was a rose in the coat, and the snow whiteness of the shirt was further relieved by sundry gold studs, which reflected the top lights that were so placed as to fall on the figure of the Novelist, and bring out all his features in fullest definition.

 


1867 Reading Tour.

In March 1867 Charles Dickens returned to Ireland, accompanied by his Irish friend Percy Fitzgerald. Dickens visited Dublin but was disturbed by Fenian disturbances in the city and wrote to his family expressing his concerns of trouble in the city.

The itinerary we have been able to compile during this tour appears to be as follows:

  • March 14 (Thursday). Takes a 2pm ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. Stays at the Shelbourne Hotel in the city.
  • March 15 (Friday). Dublin. Reading at the Rotunda (now the Ambassador Theatre), 8pm. Reads Doctor Marigold and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers.
  • March 16 (Saturday).
  • March 17 (Sunday).
  • March 18 (Monday). Reading at the Rotunda (now the Ambassador Theatre), 8pm. Reads from David Copperfield and Bob Sawyer’s Party from The Pickwick Papers.
  • March 19 (Tuesday).
  • March 20 (Wednesday). Belfast. Reading at the Ulster Hall, 8pm. Reads Doctor Marigold and the trial scene from The Pickwick Papers. The following day, the newspaper Northern Whig reported on the sold-out performance:

All yesterday, indeed. disconsolate persons were going about vainly seeking for tickets of admission. Every place was taken, and hundreds of people were unable to find seats.

  • March 21 (Thursday). Belfast.
  • March 22 (Friday). Dublin. Reading at the Rotunda (now the Ambassador Theatre), 8pm. Reads from A Christmas Carol and trail scene from The Pickwick Papers.

 


1869 Reading Tour.

In January 1869 Dickens again visited Dublin and Belfast on what was billed as – and would be – his last reading tour.

The itinerary we have been able to compile during this tour appears to be as follows:


Locations.

Filter by

Title Description
Belfast.

Charles Dickens visited this northern Irish city on three different occassions, in 1858, 1867 and in 1869.

Belfast: Ulster Hall.

Dickens gave public readings at Belfast's Ulster Hall in 1867 and 1869.

Belfast: Victoria Hall.

Dickens gave his first performance in Belfast to a packed audience at the Victoria Hall on the evening of Friday 27 August.

Carrickfergus.

On the morning of Saturday August 28 in 1858 Dickens walked from Belfast to Carrickfergus and back in time for a public performance.

Cork.

Dickens visited Cork as part of his reading tour of Ireland in the Summer of 1858.

Cork: The Athenaeum.

Dickens gave readings at The Athenaeum in Cork on 30 and 31 August, 1858.

Dublin.

Dickens gave public readings at Dublin in 1858, 1867 and 1869.

Dublin: Morrison’s.

When he visited Dublin in August 1858, Charles Dickens stayed at what was called then the Morrison’s Hotel, on Nassau Street. 

Dublin: The Rotunda.

Dickens gave several readingsat the Rotunda, now the Ambassador Theatre, in Dublin.

Holyhead.

Dickens travelled by ferry from this Welsh port to Dublin on his tours of Ireland.

Limerick.

Dickens visited Limerick as part of his reading tour of Ireland in the Summer of 1858.

 

 

 

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