Sucking, they scatter slowly, children


*(The Mabbot street entrance of nighttown, before which stretches an uncobbled tramsiding set with skeleton tracks, red and green will-o’-the-wisps and danger signals. Rows of grimy houses with gaping doors. Rare lamps with faint rainbow fins. Round Rabaiotti’s halted ice gondola stunted men and women squabble. They grab wafers between which are wedged lumps of coral and copper snow. Sucking, they scatter slowly, children. The swancomb of the gondola, highreared, forges on through the murk, white and blue under a lighthouse. Whistles call and answer.)

James Joyce. Ulysses (Page 350)

I went for a run around Nighttown, commonly known in Dublin parlance as Monto.

The first thing I noticed is how much new buildings there are. Dublin was not extensively bombed during World War Two, known in Ireland as The Emergency, but most of the buildings in Nighttown have been replaced in the second half of the twentieth century as slums and tenements that feature strongly in the Circe episode in Ulysses were torn down.

There have been distinct efforts to eliminate traces of Monto as whilst the street patterns largely remain the names have changed from Meklinburgh Street Lower to Lower Tyrone Street and then to Railway Street, Montgomery Street to Foley Street and Mabbot Street to Corporation Street, to James Joyce Street.

Running here makes an interesting comparison with running around Richmond Cottages, which seem little changed from Joyce’s time.


Joyce, J. (1998) Ulysses. Edited by Hans Walter Gabler, Wolfhard Steppe, and Claus Melchior. Afterward by Michael Gordon edn. New York, United States: Vintage Books.

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper

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