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.
—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.
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.