Monthly Archives: October 2014


    Mr Bloom and Stephen entered the cabman’s shelter, an unpretentious wooden structure, where, prior to then, he had rarely if ever been before, the former having previously whispered to the latter a few hints anent the keeper of it said to be the once famous Skin-the-Goat Fitzharris, the invincible, though he could not vouch for the actual facts which quite possibly there was not one vestige of truth in. A few moments later saw our two noctambules safely seated in a discreet corner only to be greeted by stares from the decidedly miscellaneous collection of waifs and strays and other nondescript specimens of the genus homo already there engaged in eating and drinking diversified by conversation for whom they seemingly formed an object of marked curiosity.

James Joyce. Ulysses (Page 508)

In 1882 the year Joyce was born, on 6th May, Lord Frederick Cavendish the Chief Secretary for Ireland and Thomas Henry Burke, Head of the Irish Civil Service, were murdered in the Phoenix Park. The murders were undertaken by “the Irish Invincibles” and are written about in the book The Phoenix Park Murders; Conspiracy, Betrayal & Retribution, (2006), Mercier Press, Cork written by Senan Molony.

An interesting point to note is that Joyce marks the year of the murders as 1881 when in fact they took place in 1882. Of course Joyce could be playing on the date being mistaken by Myles Crawford or indeed deliberately putting it in the year before he himself was actually born.

—You can do it, Myles Crawford repeated, clenching his hand in emphasis. Wait a minute. We’ll paralyse Europe as Ignatius Gallaher used to say when he was on the shaughraun, doing billiardmarking in the Clarence. Gallaher, that was a pressman for you. That was a pen. You know how he made his mark? I’ll tell you. That was the smartest piece of journalism ever known. That was in eightyone, sixth of May, time of the invincibles, murder in the Phoenix park, before you were born, I suppose. I’ll show you.

James Joyce. Ulysses (Pages 111,112)

James “Skin-the-Goat” Fitzharris was one of the car drivers and received a sentence of Penal Servitude for life. He was released in 1899 and died in September 1910. He appears in the Eumaeus episode of Ulysses when Stephen and Bloom take a break from their nocturnal wanderings.

When I ran along Chesterfield Avenue, the main spine of the Park, I could find no plaque or identifying mark. This obviously reflects the difficult relationship between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, but for such a major event it is surprising. The scene of the crime was directly across from the Viceregal Lodge, now Aras an Uachtarain.


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.

Molony, S. (2006) The Phoenix Park Murders: Conspiracy, Betrayal & Retribution. Cork, Ireland: The Mercier Press.

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper


    riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

James Joyce. Finnegans Wake (Page 3)

This is the opening paragraph from Joyce’s last novel, Finnegans Wake. I decided that as I had looked at the end of The Dead  I would look at the beginning…The beginning of Finnegans Wake. I ran down to Adam and Eve’s at the heart of Dublin City.

Joyce is closely associated with the Jesuit education he received but chooses to begin Finnegans Wake right where Dublin began, at Merchant’s Quay where the Franciscans have been since 1232.

There are interesting posts by the Franciscans here and Merchants Quay Ireland here

The opening passage of Finnegans Wake looks outwards to the bay, with the journey of the River Liffey out to the wide expanses of the bay. I ran back past Usher’s island where the story of The Dead opens. It is striking how close the elements in Joyce’s writings are. It is also noticeable that he covered so much of Dublin City. He moved house so often and was a prodigious walker so he knew the City intimately.


Joyce, J. (2000) Finnegans Wake. Introduction by Seamus Deane edn. London, United Kingdom: Penguin Books.

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper


    He stood, holding her head between his hands. Then, slipping one arm swiftly about her body and drawing her towards him, he said softly:
—Gretta, dear, what are you thinking about?
    She did not answer nor yield wholly to his arm. He said again, softly:
—Tell me what it is, Gretta. I think I know what is the matter. Do I know?
    She did not answer at once. Then she said in an outburst of tears:
—O, I am thinking about that song, The Lass of Aughrim.
    She broke loose from him and ran to the bed and, throwing her arms across the bedrail, hid her face. Gabriel stood stock-still for a moment in astonishment and then followed her. As he passed in the way of the cheval glass he caught sight of himself in full length, his broad, wellfilled shirtfront, the face whose expression always puzzled him when he saw it in a mirror, and his glimmering giltrimmed eyeglasses. He halted a few paces from her and said:
—What about the song? Why does that make you cry?

James Joyce. The Dead, Dubliners (Pages 189,190)

I went running off to look at The North Circular Road and ponder on Bloom’s idea of a tramline from the Cattle Market to the Quays when I came to the junction at Aughrim Street and thought of this passage from The Dead, the last story in the collectionDubliners….and couldn’t resist running down it and discovering it.


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.

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper


    He sat near them at the table and asked where his father and mother were. One answered:
—Goneboro toboro lookboro atboro aboro houseboro.
Still another removal! A boy named Fallon in Belvedere had often asked him with a silly laugh why they moved so often. A frown of scorn darkened quickly his forehead as he heard again the silly laugh of the questioner.
He asked:
—Why are we on the move again if it’s a fair question?
    The same sister answered:
—Becauseboro theboro landboro lordboro willboro putboro usboro outboro.

James Joyce. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Page 143)

Vivien Igoe in her book on Joyce’s residences states that John Joyce bought a house on the 24th October 1902 at 7 Saint Peter’s Terrace, Phibsborough. Igoe, V. (2007) James Joyce’s Dublin Houses & Nora Barnacle’s Galway, The Lilliput Press, Dublin, Ireland. Prior to the house purchase the family had lived in a succession of rental properties, moving often, as the landlord sought unpaid rent.

In Ellmann’s book of Joyce letters the address is referred to as 7 Saint Peter’s Terrace, Cabra, Dublin. Ellmann R. (Ed.) (1975) Selected Letters of James Joyce, Faber and Faber, London, United Kingdom

The house may have moved from Phibsborough to Cabra, it now is listed as 5 Saint Peter’s Road.

So how and why has the number of the house and the title of the road changed?

The Ordnance Survey Map of 1907 / 1911 has the road entitled St. Peter’s Road, not Terrace. And no new houses have been constructed or removed. So why would Number 7 become Number 5? In a very short period after Joyce wrote his letters.,714693,735936,7,9

You can see an image from Google Street View here

Did Joyce simply get the number wrong and is the plaque on the wrong house? Did he call the Road, Terrace by mistake? This seems unlikely. It is common for the names of districts to be confused. Lisney the Estate agents describe the location as St. Peter’s Road, Drumcondra, Phibsborough, Dublin 7.

It is an oddity that I hope to resolve definitively at a later stage.


Igoe, V. (2006) James Joyce’s Dublin Houses and Nora Barnacle’s Galway. Dublin, Ireland: Lilliput Press.

Joyce, J. (1992) Selected Letters of James Joyce. Edited by Richard Ellmann. London, England: Faber & Faber.

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


The Death of Parnell

6th October, 1891

He cleared his throat once or twice and then began to recite:

He is dead. Our Uncrowned King is dead.
O, Erin, mourn with grief and woe
For he lies dead whom the fell gang
Of modern hypocrites laid low.

He lies slain by the coward hounds
He raised to glory from the mire:
And Erin’s hopes and Erin’s dreams
Perish upon her monarch’s pyre.

In palace, cabin or in cot
The Irish heart where’er it be
Is bowed with woe—for he is gone
Who would have wrought her destiny.

He would have had his Erin famed,
The green flag gloriously unfurled,
Her statesmen, bards and warriors raised
Before the nations of the world.

He dreamed (alas, ‘twas but a dream!)
Of Liberty: but as he strove
To clutch that idol, treachery
Sundered him from the thing he loved.

Shame on the coward, caitiff hands
That smote their Lord or with a kiss
Betrayed him to the rabble-rout
Of fawning priests—no friends of his!

May everlasting shame consume
The memory of those who tried
To befoul and smear th’exalted name
Of one who spurned them in his pride!

He fell as fall the mighty ones,
Nobly undaunted to the last,
And death has now united him
With Erin’s heroes of the past.

No sound of strife disturb his sleep!
Calmly he rests: no human pain
Or high ambition spurs him now
The peaks of glory to attain.

They had their way: they laid him low.
But Erin, list, his spirit may
Rise, like the Phoenix from the flames,
When breaks the dawning of the day,

The day that brings us Freedom’s reign.
And on that day may Erin well
Pledge in the cup she lifts to Joy
One grief—the memory of Parnell.

    Mr. Hynes sat down again on the table. When he had finished his recitation there was a silence and then a burst of clapping: even Mr. Lyons clapped. The applause continued for a little time. When it had ceased all the auditors drank from their bottles in silence.

James Joyce. Ivy Day in the Committee Room (pages 114-116)

October 6th is Ivy Day, the commemoration of the death of Charles Stewart Parnell who died in 1891 and the story centres around Parnell and his downfall, and finishes with this poem..

I ran to Glasnevin Cemetery to pass Parnell’s grave but also to look at the grave of James Joyce’s parents, John Stanislaus Joyce (of Cork) 1849 -1939 and Mary Jane (of Dublin) 1859 – 1903

The two graves are on opposite sides of a path from each other, both a short distance from the main entrance. You can see Parnell’s grave on the left of this Google Street View Image and the Joyce Family plot on the right

There is a lot of information on the Glasnevin Trust Website here. A brief article on the family, complete with Patrick Tuohy’s portrait of John Stanislaus Joyce is hereand a most interesting .pdf from the Glasnevin trust can be viewed and downloaded here

Several of Joyce’s siblings are buried in the plot and I will expand on this in a further post.


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.

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper

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