He recognised at once the martial mind of the Irish Church


    As Stephen looked at the big square block of masonry looming before them through the faint daylight, he re-entered again in thought the seminarist life which he had led for so many years, to the understanding of the narrow activities of which he could now in a moment bring the spirit of an acute sympathetic alien. He recognised at once the martial mind of the Irish Church in the style of this ecclesiastical barracks.

James Joyce. Stephen Hero (Pages 72, 73)

I went on a somewhat aimless run around the north inner suburbs and the backlands that Joyce would have walked through, and ended up going near Holy Cross College, otherwise known as Clonliffe College, which features in Stephen Hero.

I approached Clonliffe Road from Mabel Street which runs northwards from a backlane alongside the Railway embankment. There is a tree lined avenue that runs directly up to the College which is called Holy Cross Avenue.

You can see the Ordnance Survey Map reference here

You can see it on Google Street View here


The Avenue runs directly up to the gable end of Holy Cross Church which looms large over the Avenue and my immediate thought was to photograph some of the imposing facades of the ecclesiastical buildings which feature so prominently in the writings.

I read some of Stephen Hero again today and here is a quote from the section where he meets his friend Wells, who invites him into the grounds. The description sums up the impression I had as I looked through the gates from the Avenue.

Interestingly he refers to a Handball alley which I cannot see on the Ordnance Survey Maps. Will have to go on another run to see if anything is visible on the ground.


Joyce, J. (1963) Stephen Hero. Edited by John J. Slocum and Herbert Cahoon. Introduction by Theodore Spencer edn. New York, United States: New Directions Publishing.

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper

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