Stephen was once again seated beside his father in the corner of a railway carriage at Kingsbridge. He was travelling with his father by the night mail to Cork. As the train steamed out of the station he recalled his childish wonder of years before and every event of his first day in Clongowes. But he felt no wonder now. He saw the darkening lands slipping away past him, the silent telegraph poles passing his window swiftly every four seconds, the little glimmering stations, manned by a few silent sentries, flung by the mail behind her and twinkling for a moment in the darkness like fiery grains flung backwards by a runner.
James Joyce is famous for writing about Dublin. What is less well-known is his paternal ancestry in the county and city of Cork. His father, John Stanislaus Joyce was born in Cork in 1849 and father and son went together to the southern capital in 1893 for the sale of family property. James Joyce fictionalises the journey in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when the young Stephen Dedalus visits Cork with his father Simon, making the journey south on the train from Kingsbridge, now Hueston Station.
John Stanislaus Joyce was an only child and on his birthday at the age of 21 on the 4th of July 1870, he inherited £1000 and properties with an annual rental income of £325.When his mother died in 1881, the year before James Joyce was born, John Stanislaus inherited property in Cork city with an annual rent of some £500 per year, the key part of which was on White Street, just to the south of the southern channel of the River Lee.
John Stanislaus Joyce was commonly known as Jack, just as his son James was commonly called Jim. His grandson Ken Monaghan writes.
Jack’s father James (another James) had married Ellen O’Connell who was the daughter of a wealthy Cork businessman and the young couple lived in a nice house in a fashionable suburb of the city. Jack was to be their only child and as such he was spoiled and cosseted and brought up to believe that the O’Connell-Joyces, as they called themselves, were special and that the male members of the family were gentlemen and should always behave as such. The latter idea appealed to young Jack since his concept of a gentleman was someone who would never have to work for a living. Jack Joyce throughout his life did his best to live up to this ideal.
His son Stanislaus described him, Pappie is the only child of an only child (his father) and therefore the spoiled son of a spoiled son, the spendthrift son of a spendthrift.
John Stanislaus left Cork for Dublin as a prosperous single man in the mid 1870’s. This all changed when he got there. His financial decline began in Dublin but it was largely influenced by events that took place in Cork.
Just as the Joyce’s and the Daedalus’s did, I took the train to Cork from Dublin, in my case from Hueston Station and in theirs, Kingsbridge. I passed through Port Laoise, then called Maryborough and arrived in Cork at Kent Station, formerly Glanmire Road Station. The journey was largely the same but all of the names have changed since the foundation of the Irish State.
Joyce wrote about his experiences of visiting Cork in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and he also wrote of travelling south by train in Ulysses where the train carrying Molly and Leopold Bloom is mentioned passing through Maryborough on its way to Mallow.
At Maryborough he fell asleep. When he awoke the train had passed out of Mallow and his father was stretched asleep on the other seat. The cold light of the dawn lay over the country, over the unpeopled fields and the closed cottages.
Stephen fell asleep in Maryborough, the same place that Bloom buys some soup.
…something always happens with him the time going to the Mallow concert at Maryborough ordering boiling soup for the two of us then the bell rang out he walks down the platform with the soup splashing about taking spoonfuls of it hadnt he the nerve and the waiter after him making a holy show of us screeching and confusion for the engine to start but he wouldnt pay till he finished it the two gentlemen in the 3rd class carriage said he was quite right so he was too hes so pigheaded sometimes when he gets a thing into his head a good job he was able to open the carriage door with his knife or theyd have taken us on to Cork I suppose that was done out of revenge on him…
Joyce last visited Cork on December 12th 1909 when he was setting up cinemas in Ireland, the first being the Volta Cinema in Mary Street, Dublin. Once again he went by train from Kingsbridge, returning to Dublin late on the same evening. His biographer Richard Ellmann notes that Joyce wrote to his brother Stanislaus “For five rainy dreary hours we were mooning around Cork.” Ellmann (p.302)
Unlike Joyce I arrive in Cork on a beautiful sunny evening.
I crossed the street and went along Saint Peter and Saint Paul’s Place. The church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul dominates the view and is where according To Richard Ellmann (p.13), James Joyce’s paternal grandparents, James Augustine Joyce and Ellen O’Connell, were married on February 28th 1848.
The church has an interesting website and is unusual as it has both external and internal Google Street View images. You can access them on the church website here.
I continue through the centre of Cork City, making my way towards the site of Joyce’s grandparents house. The Grand Parade was originally a water way, filled in in the latter half of the 18th century.
I cross the River Lee for the second time over what was the most easterly fixed bridge on southern channel of the River Lee. Spalding notes that the names of Parliament Bridge and Street date from the 1760’s as Parliament provided the capital cost of the infrastructure (p.100).
The route heads east along the riverbank getting closer to the area that the Joyce family lived and owned property in. Ellmann (p.38) lists sales in 1893 of ground and buildings to the rear of South Terrace, a coach house and stable in Stable Lane, ground and buildings at 7 and 8 Anglesea Street and premises in White Street.
The run continues along Copley Street, passing around Anglesea Street and South Terrace. Rose Cottage, the Joyce family home was located at the junction of Anglesea Street and Copley Street. Simon Daedalus tells Stephen about getting caught smoking around the corner of South Terrace.
I’m talking to you as a friend, Stephen. I don’t believe in playing the stern father. I don’t believe a son should be afraid of his father. No, I treat you as your grandfather treated me when I was a young chap. We were more like brothers than father and son. I’ll never forget the first day he caught me smoking. I was standing at the end of the South Terrace one day with some maneens like myself and sure we thought we were grand fellows because we had pipes stuck in the corners of our mouths. Suddenly the governor passed. He didn’t say a word, or stop even. But the next day, Sunday, we were out for a walk together and when we were coming home he took out his cigar case and said: By the bye, Simon, I didn’t know you smoked: or something like that. —Of course I tried to carry it off as best I could. If you want a good smoke, he said, try one of these cigars. An American captain made me a present of them last night in Queenstown.
After I first published this blogpost a comment was posted by about the plaque in the ground outside 20 Anglesea Street.
The plaque reads:
James Augustine Joyce 1827 – 1866 (Grandfather of James Joyce 1882-1941) Resided in this house. James A Joyce was an Officer of the Cork Corporation by whom this plaque was provided 1984.
In the biography of John Stanislaus Joyce, the missing link between the two James Joyce’s mentioned on the plaque. Wyse Jackson and Costello, in John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father say that the Joyce house stood in its own grounds where Copley Street ran into Anglesea Street (page 24). This would seem to be on the opposite side of the street to the plaque.
It is on this street that John Stanislaus Joyce most significant Cork property was located.
I chose to run along Douglas Street, passing the Presentation Convent where John Stanislaus made his First Holy Communion.
The run heads north back across the River Lee and past the Beamish and Crawford Brewery. Guinness is much mentioned in the writings of James Joyce, and despite the fact that Simon and Stephen go from bar to bar after their property is sold, whether Simon drank Beamish and Crawford stout goes unmentioned.
These streets all mark the start of the road west out of the city centre towards the Mardyke. It is a popular walk to this day with the sun setting in the west at the end of the Mardyke.
Sheares Street was named after Henry and John Sheares, United Irishmen, executed in 1798. They are remembered in Ulysses.
And the citizen and Bloom having an argument about the point, the brothers Sheares and Wolfe Tone beyond on Arbour Hill and Robert Emmet and die for your country, the Tommy Moore touch about Sara Curran and she’s far from the land.
The leaves of the trees along the Mardyke were astir and whispering in the sunlight. A team of cricketers passed, agile young men in flannels and blazers, one of them carrying the long green wicket-bag…Stephen walked on at his father’s side, listening to stories he had heard before, hearing again the names of the scattered and dead revellers who had been the companions of his father’s youth.
This road takes back to the east and towards the entrance to University College Cork, formerly Queen’s College.
Stephen’s father Simon studied at Queen’s College and he takes Stephen there as he is reminiscing about his time in Cork. As with much of their trip to Cork, it mirrors real events as John Stanislaus Joyce entered Queen’s College as a medical student in 1867.
I enter UCC as a runner, crossing the River Lee for the fourth and last time.
On the desk before him he read the word Foetus cut several times in the dark stained wood. The sudden legend startled his blood: he seemed to feel the absent students of the college about him and to shrink from their company. A vision of their life, which his father’s words had been powerless to evoke, sprang up before him out of the word cut in the desk. A broad-shouldered student with a moustache was cutting in the letters with a jackknife, seriously.
The run ends in the Quadrangle. Unsurprisingly I did not find the word Foetus carved anywhere in UCC. However there is a very interesting exhibition of Ogham stones in the cloisters. More meanings carved into objects a long time ago.
I know Cork reasonably well, but not well enough to run around not without some pre-planning. Like all the runs, I was looking for content in Joyce’s family biography, writings in the texts and also visual interest. Staring at the train station and ending at the Quadrangle in UCC took me along the city and across the Lee a number of times, and I freely passed a lot of pubs.
I guessed the route was about 7km but decided to use Google Maps to check. It gave a distance of 7.52km. The actual route I ran was 7.77km, though I did do a complete run around the quadrangle. Next time I may take a trip across the Lee and up to Sunday’s Well which is also mentioned in the texts.
Costello, P. and Jackson, J.W. (1998) John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father. London, United Kingdom: Fourth Estate.
Ellmann, R. (1983) James Joyce: New and Revised Edition. New York, United States: Oxford University Press.
Joyce, J. (1998) Ulysses. Edited by Hans Walter Gabler, Wolfhard Steppe, and Claus Melchior. Afterword by Michael Gordon edn. New York, United States: Vintage Books.
Joyce, J. (2007) A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts Criticism. Edited by John Paul Riquelme, Hans Walter Gabler, and Walter Hettche. New York, United States: Norton, W. W. & Company.
Joyce, S. (1994) The Complete Dublin Diary of Stanislaus Joyce. Edited by George H. Healey. Dublin, Ireland: Anna Livia Press.
Monaghan, K. (2005) Joyce’s Dublin Family. Dublin: The James Joyce Centre.
Spalding, T. (2013) Layers: The Design, History and Meaning of Public Street Signage in Cork and other Irish Cities. Foreward by Phil Baines edn. Dublin, Ireland: Associated Editions.
There is a longer bibliography of background material here
You can see more of my research output on the Technological University Dublin repository Arrow, here
Thanks to Tom Spalding for all his Cork related advice. Thanks also to the reader Frank for his comments regarding the plaque in the ground outside 20 Anglesea Street.
You can look at this route on Map My Run here.
You can zoom into the map to see more details and download a GPX or KML file of the route from Map My Run.