As I explored the Abbey Theatre’s neighborhood, I could not help but notice its position in a place of rich cultural preservation. Around it lies museums, the ones I noticed being the Dublin Writers’ Museum and the James Joyce Centre. Seeing this made me fully realize the importance of the establishment, and its contributions to the conservation of a unique time in history. It became clear as I explored that the Abbey Theatre and its surrounding area is a hub of Irish literary celebration. This is fitting, given the fact that it stands as the place in which an impactful movement, namely the Irish Literary Revival, thrived. Another thought that crossed my mind as I explored was its positioning in the midst of bustling streets, where people could get a coffee at the cafe across the street, eat at the sandwich shop next door, or go buy some paint and construction materials down the street. To me, this really exemplified that even today, the theatre stands as a place for the people. It is in the midst of a true community that actively utilizes it as a place of storytelling; its significance does not end with the Irish Literary Revival.
Looking inside the theatre, the first thing I took note of was the sizes of both the Peacock and the Abbey Stages. They are considerably smaller than I had expected, although in hindsight this made sense in the context of its time and purpose. This theatre was a space that spoke the stories of the invisible working class into existence, giving its audience the chance to see themselves acknowledged in powerful ways. The theatre’s focus was not on grandeur or impressive size, but its ability to connect with the community that encircled it. It is amazing to me that the establishment has stood the test of time (as well as an intense fire) and serves as a reminder of the neighborhood’s past and present cultural significance.