Monthly Archives: September 2014


—What I mean, said Mr Lyons, is we have our ideals. Why, now, would we welcome a man like that? Do you think now after what he did Parnell was a fit man to lead us? And why, then, would we do it for Edward the Seventh?
—This is Parnell’s anniversary, said Mr O’Connor, and don’t let us stir up any bad blood. We all respect him now that he’s dead and gone—even the Conservatives, he added, turning to Mr Crofton.

James Joyce, Ivy Day in the Committee Room, Dubliners (Pages 113)

In Dubliners the story Ivy Day in The Committee Room is about Charles Stewart Parnell and his position in Ireland. Arguments take place when the forthcoming visit of Edward VII is mentioned and he is compared to Parnell.

Consider the passage from Dubliners and compare it with this passage from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

—Let him remember too, cried Mr Casey to her from across the table, the language with which the priests and the priests’ pawns broke Parnell’s heart and hounded him into his grave. Let him remember that too when he grows up.
—Sons of bitches! cried Mr Dedalus. When he was down they turned on him to betray him and rend him like rats in a sewer. Lowlived dogs! And they look it! By Christ, they look it!
—They behaved rightly, cried Dante. They obeyed their bishops and their priests. Honour to them!

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Page 29)

Parnell seems to divide opinion, even at times in the same person. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Dante has two separate brushes.

    Dante had two brushes in her press. The brush with the maroon velvet back was for Michael Davitt and the brush with the green velvet back was for Parnell.

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Page 5)

Parnell is mentioned in Ulysses and the place of his grave, Glasnevin Cemetery features strongly, but his brother John Howard appears in several real and imagined episodes:

Bloom sees him,

   The sun freed itself slowly and lit glints of light among the silverware opposite in Walter Sexton’s window by which John Howard Parnell passed, unseeing.
    There he is: the brother. Image of him. Haunting face. Now that’s a coincidence. Course hundreds of times you think of a person and don’t meet him. Like a man walking in his sleep. No-one knows him. Must be a corporation meeting today. They say he never put on the city marshal’s uniform since he got the job.”

James Joyce, Ulysses (Page 135)

As do Buck Mulligan and Haines,

    As they trod across the thick carpet Buck Mulligan whispered behind his Panama to Haines:
— Parnell’s brother. There in the corner.
    They chose a small table near the window, opposite a longfaced man whose beard and gaze hung intently down on a chessboard.
— Is that he? Haines asked, twisting round in his seat.
— Yes, Mulligan said. That’s John Howard, his brother, our city marshal.

James Joyce, Ulysses (Page 204)

And later he appears in Nighttown

(raises the royal standard) Illustrious Bloom! Successor to my famous brother!
(embraces John Howard Parnell) We thank you from our heart, John, for this right royal welcome to green Erin, the promised land of our common ancestors.

James Joyce, Ulysses (Page 394)

Parnell is clearly an important figure for Joyce. I came across a reference to a Picture Postcard of Parnell’s grave that was given to Sylvia Beach by James Joyce.

The reference is on Page 217 of the following: Manuscripts & Letters at the University of Buffalo, A Catalogue. Compiled and with an Introduction by Peter Spielberg. Published by the University of Buffalo in 1962 and available online here:

I wondered what the postcard looked like so I searched online. There is one on sale on Ebay which you can see here.

The card is from a photograph from the Lawrence Collection which can be viewed online here and has many interesting historical photographs that you can purchase.

The same photograph with much more publishing details can be viewed online at The National Library of Ireland website here:

The grave itself is a short walk from Saint Peter’s Terrace which Joyce moved into in 1902, where his mother passed away in 1903 and the last address that he lived in with his father John Joyce. The run from Grangegorman passes Saint Peter’s Terrace and goes to the cemetery and back via Connaught Street, Ulster Street, Munster Street and Leinster Street North…all streets that James Joyce would have been familiar with in his walks around the North Inner City.


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.

Joyce, J. (2006) Dubliners, Authoritative Text, Contexts, Criticism. Edited by Margot Norris, Hans Walter Gabler, and Walter Hettche. New York, United States: Norton, W. W. & Company.

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.

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper

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