Ghinees hies good for you


—What is your nation if I may ask? says the citizen.
—Ireland, says Bloom. I was born here. Ireland.

       The citizen said nothing only cleared the spit out of his gullet and, gob, he spat a Red bank oyster out of him right in the corner.
—After you with the push, Joe, says he, taking out his handkerchief to swab himself dry.
—Here you are, citizen, says Joe. Take that in your right hand and repeat after me the following words.
       The muchtreasured and intricately embroidered ancient Irish facecloth attributed to Solomon of Droma and Manus Tomaltach og MacDonogh, authors of the Book of Ballymote, was then carefully produced and called forth prolonged admiration. No need to dwell on the legendary beauty of the cornerpieces, the acme of art, wherein one can distinctly discern each of the four evangelists in turn presenting to each of the four masters his evangelical symbol, a bogoak sceptre, a North American puma (a far nobler king of beasts than the British article, be it said in passing), a Kerry calf and a golden eagle from Carrantuohill. The scenes depicted on the emunctory field, showing our ancient duns and raths and cromlechs and grianauns and seats of learning and maledictive stones, are as wonderfully beautiful and the pigments as delicate as when the Sligo illuminators gave free rein to their artistic fantasy long long ago in the time of the Barmecides. Glendalough, the lovely lakes of Killarney, the ruins of Clonmacnois, Cong Abbey, Glen Inagh and the Twelve Pins, Ireland’s Eye, the Green Hills of Tallaght, Croagh Patrick, the brewery of Messrs Arthur Guinness, Son and Company (Limited), Lough Neagh’s banks, the vale of Ovoca, Isolde’s tower, the Mapas obelisk, Sir Patrick Dun’s hospital, Cape Clear, the glen of Aherlow, Lynch’s castle, the Scotch house, Rathdown Union Workhouse at Loughlinstown, Tullamore jail, Castleconnel rapids, Kilballymacshonakill, the cross at Monasterboice, Jury’s Hotel, S. Patrick’s Purgatory, the Salmon Leap, Maynooth college refectory, Curley’s hole, the three birthplaces of the first duke of Wellington, the rock of Cashel, the bog of Allen, the Henry Street Warehouse, Fingal’s Cave—all these moving scenes are still there for us today rendered more beautiful still by the waters of sorrow which have passed over them and by the rich incrustations of time.
—Shove us over the drink, says I. Which is which?
—That’s mine, says Joe, as the devil said to the dead policeman.
—And I belong to a race too, says Bloom, that is hated and persecuted. Also now. This very moment. This very instant.
Gob he near burnt his fingers with the butt of his old cigar.

James Joyce. Ulysses (Pages 272, 273)

Joyce mentions Guinness throughout Ulysses and extensively in Finnegans Wake. In the extract above from the Cyclops episode of Ulysses the brewery of Messrs Arthur Guinness, Son and Company features amongst the treasures of Ireland including Croagh Patrick and Glendalough.

In his book Guinness Times, My Days in the World’s most Famous Brewery Al Byrne writes, It is claimed that no writer has made more literary allusions to Guinness than Joyce, but Guinness has generally confined its use of Joyce’s references in its own advertising campaigns to Ireland, on the grounds that the average drinker outside Ireland would find them too enigmatic. What, for example, would foreigners make of the following characters from Finnegans Wake, Guinnghis Khan, Allfor Guineas, Ser Artur Ghinis, Mooseyeare Goorness? All the same, one Guinness ad in the UK featured an excerpt from Finnegans Wake,as follows: ‘Foamous homely brew, bebattled by bottle, gageure de guegarre.’

Al Byrne. Guinness Times, My Days in the World’s most Famous Brewery (Pages 159, 160)

The quote can be found on Page 272 of Finnegans Wake.

Guinness advertising also influenced Joyce. In 1929 Guinness released its first newspaper advert with the slogan “Guinness is good for you”. And the slogan made its way into Finnegans Wake when Jute makes the memorable pun comparing the beverage to money.

Jute – One eyegonblack. Bisons is bisons. Let me fore all your hasitancy cross your qualm with trink gilt. Here have sylvan coyne, a piece of oak. Ghinees hies good for you.

James Joyce. Finnegans Wake (Page 16)


Byrne, A. (1999) Guinness Times: My Days in the World’s Most Famous Brewery. Dublin, Ireland: Town House.

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

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