Shaw’s Birthplace at 33 Synge Street is one of Dublin’s top historic sites. This two-storey Victorian terraced house was the first home of the famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw who later won numerous prizes for his works, including the Noble Prize for Literature (1925) and an Oscar (1938). There’s a plaque outside the door that simply says ”Author of Many Plays”. Check out our guide to Shaw’s Birth Place, with details on the history of the house, how to get here and on Shaw himself.
George Bernard Shaw was born in 1856 at 33 Synge Street, Dublin. His mother was a professional singer and his father an unsuccessful grain merchant. It was from this house in Dublin that he got inspiration for many of the characters in his plays. Shaw lived here until the age of 20 when he moved to London to join his mother. She had previously left his father for her voice teacher, Vandeleur Lee, and both moved to London.
Once in London Shaw’s career really began to take off. He started to write articles for Vandeleur’s music column on the London Hornet newspaper. He also became a socialist, as he was disgusted by the way the middle classes were treated. It was from socialist meetings that he met his wife, Charlotte Payne-Townshend.
He then started to write plays, many of them depicting the unfair way middle class people were treated and prevailing socialist issues. From the 1890′s onwards some of his plays were published and preformed. In his lifetime he produced 63 plays and he also became a prestigious novelist, critic and correspondent. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925 and received an Oscar in 1938 for the film Pygmalion. He died in 1950 at the age of 94.
Shaw’s Birthplace was opened to the public in 1993. This Victorian terraced house on Synge Street, Dublin 8, has been restored to its original splendour, just as it was all those years ago. Everything is still in its place, as if the Shaw family still live here.
The museum gives a great insight into what life was like for the middle class in Victorian Dublin. You can see the drawing room where Shaw’s mother would have entertained guests and had musical evenings, the kitchen, the maid’s room and the old bedroom of young Shaw is also on display.
How to get here…
It’s only about a 15 minute walk from Grafton Street, Dublin’s pedestrianised shopping street. Head south to the top of Grafton Street. Continue walking along St Stephen’s Green West until you come to Harcourt Street. Walk the length of Harcourt Street and take a right onto Harcourt Road. Continue straight ahead, this street becomes Harrington Street. Take a left onto Synge Street and Shaw’s Birthplace is on left hand side.
The Harcourt LUAS stop, is the closet stop to Shaw’s Birthplace. There are also many buses that stop close to Synge Street – bus routes 16, 16A, 19, 19A and 122 all depart from the city centre.
May-September: Monday-Friday, 10am – 1pm & 2pm – 5pm,
Closed all day Wednesday.
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays: 2pm-5pm.
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