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Delight at City of Literature accolade for Dublin

Dublin today became only the fourth city in the world to be named a Unesco City of Literature.

Mary Hanafin, Minister for Tourism, said the honour would give the city a huge boost with an influx of cultural visitors.

"Dublin has been awarded this accolade because of the rich historical literary past of the city, the vibrant contemporary literature, the variety of festivals and attractions available and because it is the birthplace and home of literary greats," she said.

"Names such as Swift, O'Casey, Wilde, Shaw, Behan, Beckett and Joyce are synonymous with Dublin and there are reminders of their great literary works throughout the city - which captures both scholars and tourist imaginations when they visit the city."

Dublin now follows in the footsteps of Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa with the permanent title.

Several writers gave their thoughts on the capital's literary appeal.

Man Booker prize winner Anne Enright said: "In other towns, clever people go out and make money. In Dublin, clever people go home and write their books."

Dublin-based Scottish author Irvine Welsh, best known for his Trainspotting novel, said: "Dublin is a city brimming with stories, the local and the international, provided by incomers and the returning members of the Irish diaspora.

"It's difficult to think of any place on the globe more appropriate for the Unesco City of Literature designation."

A website to celebrate the achievement has been set up, dublincityofliterature.com , which highlights literary events and explains the city's history and heritage.

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Dublin is also home to the Impac international literary award, the world's richest prize for literature.

The City Council applied for the prestigious tag last year as it marked the Dublin Book Festival.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen said: "I am absolutely delighted about this achievement - which confirms what Dubliners have known for years - this is a city that has always produced - and continues to produce - great writers."

Tourism and marketing experts are planning to work together to use the honour to draw in visitors and develop and promote events around literature.

Ms Hanafin added: "Dublin is now part of the Unesco Creative Cities Network and there will be numerous opportunities to showcase all that is happening on the cultural and literary fronts in the months and years ahead.

"Being one of only four cities in the world to achieve the status of Unesco City of Literature will enable Dublin to increase its market share of tourists and attract more people to both the city and the island of Ireland."

Edinburgh was the first city to be given the honour in 2004 as it plays host to the international Man Booker prize and was home to Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Melbourne secured the sought after title in 2008 thanks mainly to the city being widely acknowledged as Australia's cultural capital.

Iowa was successful the same year after the local university produced more than 25 Pulitzer Prize winners since 1955.

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