Charles Dickens and Ireland.

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

We have attempted to put together Dickens movements in Ireland during his three visits based on material such as letters, newspaper reports and articles. Some of this we know is incomplete and we would be grateful for any information to make it into a comprehensive list.

1858 Reading Tour.

As part of a national tour in 1858, that had included England and Scotland, Charles Dickens visited Ireland in the Summer of that year. His itinerary in Ireland including giving performances in the cities of Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Limerick as well as a chance to do some sightseeing.

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 arriving in Dublin. Whilst in the city he stays at the Morrison’s Hotel, Nassau Street and gives readings at the Rotunda (now the Ambassador Theatre).
  • 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.
  • 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 Atheneum.
  • August (31, Tuesday). Cork. Gives two more public readings at the Atheneum, 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 for two nights at the Theatre Royal.
  • September (2, Thursday). Limerick. Writes from the Royal Hotel to his nephew describing the success of his readings in Dublin, Belfast and Cork.

1867 Reading Tour.

In March 1867 Dickens returned to Ireland, accompanied by his Irish friend Percy Fitzgerald. Dickens visited Dublin but was disturbed by Finian 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.
  • March (16, Saturday). Dublin.
  • March (17, Sunday). Dublin.
  • March (21, Thursday). Belfast.

1869 Reading Tour.

In January, 1869 Dickens 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:

  • January 8 (Friday). Belfast. Reading at Ulster Hall. Reads from A Christmas Carol and The Pickwick Papers.
  • January 15 (Friday). Belfast. Reading at Ulster Hall. Reads from David Copperfield and Bob Sawyer from The Pickwick Papers.

Locations.

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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. 

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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