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34_TheyFoundTheGrave

—They tell the story, he said, that two drunks came out here one foggy evening to look for the grave of a friend of theirs. They asked for Mulcahy from the Coombe and were told where he was buried. After traipsing about in the fog they found the grave sure enough. One of the drunks spelt out the name: Terence Mulcahy. The other drunk was blinking up at a statue of Our Saviour the widow had got put up.
The caretaker blinked up at one of the sepulchres they passed. He resumed:
—And, after blinking up at the sacred figure, Not a bloody bit like the man, says he. That’s not Mulcahy, says he, whoever done it.

James Joyce. Ulysses (Page 88)

James Joyce was not the first born of John Stanislaus Joyce and May Murray. They had a son born on 23rd November 1880, some seven months after their wedding. The baby lived for eight days. Wyse Jackson and Costello say that the birth took place at home in Ontario Terrace whereas Ken Monaghan, who’s mother May was one of James Joyce’s sisters, in his book Joyce’s Dublin Family, says the boy was born in 47 Northumberland Avenue in Kingstown, now Dun Laoghaire. Regardless of the uncertainty of the birth, the baby was to be the first Joyce to be buried in the family plot in Glasnevin.

For the funeral, John bought a plot in Prospect Cemetery, Glasnevin, where he knew the Superintendent, David Malins. This was the only estate he would manage to hold on to until his own death. Glasnevin was on the northern outskirts of the city; the large graveyard there had the melancholy distinction of being ‘the Irish Valhalla’, as the burial place of, among other national heroes, Daniel O’Connell, who had helped to create it as an almost exclusively Catholic Cemetery. There were very few mourners at the freezing graveside; even the baby’s mother was not there – as it was not then customary for women to attend funerals.

John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello. John Stanislaus Joyce (Page 100)

    Mr Bloom stood far back, his hat in his hand, counting the bared heads. Twelve. I’m thirteen. No. The chap in the macintosh is thirteen. Death’s number. Where the deuce did he pop out of? He wasn’t in the chapel, that I’ll swear. Silly superstition that about thirteen.

James Joyce. Ulysses (Page 90)

I have speculated elsewhere in this blog (Who was M’Intosh? December 23rd, 2014), about the man in the macintosh being a version of Stanislaus Joyce, but it was Stanislaus who noted that the impressions for the funeral scene in Ulysses must have been gathered from the two family funerals Joyce attended in the cemetery.

As Jim disliked funerals and avoided going to them , his impressions for the ‘Hades’ episode of Ulysses must have been gathered either at my mother’s funeral or at my younger brother Georgie’s. He was never in the cemetery again.

Stanislaus Joyce. My Brother’s Keeper (Page 235)

A headstone seems not to have been erected until after John Stanislaus Joyce’s death on the 29th December 1931, over fifty years since the plot was opened.

In accordance with the instructions from his father’s ghost (so the son suggested), the gravestone for Glasnevin was soon commissioned (via Alfie Bergan) from Harrison’s, who had done the arms of Dublin for the North City Markets in 1892. Bergan had heard directly from John Stanislaus that the inscription was to mention only John himself and his wife May. There would be nothing about the other Joyces in the same plot, not even poor Georgie or Baby.

John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello. John Stanislaus Joyce (Page 425)

James Joyce could not have attended the first burial in the Joyce family plot. He could have attended the last, but chose not to return home for it, despite being named as his father’s sole heir. One of the curious aspects of the headstone is that there is no religious iconography. The white stone is surrounded by dark headstones, complete with obvious crucifix adornments. John Stanislaus left explicit instructions that only his name, and that of his wife were to appear on the headstone. The white colour, in stark contrast to those surrounding it, may have been chosen to indicate that children were also interred, white being the traditional colour of children’s coffins.

Bibliography

Costello, P. and Jackson, J.W. (1998) John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father. London, United Kingdom: Fourth Estate.

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, S. (2003) My Brother’s Keeper: James Joyce’s Early Years. Edited by Richard Ellmann. Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States: Da Capo Press.
Monaghan, K. (2005) Joyce’s Dublin Family. Dublin: The James Joyce Centre.
jj21k_Glasnevin_01

Glasnevin Cemetery: 15 June 2015

jj21k_Glasnevin_02

Glasnevin Cemetery: 15 June 2015

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper

33_AgonisingChrist

—Agonising Christ, wouldn’t it give you a heartburn on your arse?

James Joyce. Ulysses (Page 102)

James Joyce’s father, John Stanislaus Joyce has many of the best lines in Joyce’s writings and appears in many different guises. Most obviously he appears as Simon Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as well as in Ulysses.

He was born in Cork on July 4th 1849. He is described in A Portrait:

    Stephen began to enumerate glibly his father’s attributes.
—A medical student, an oarsman, a tenor, an amateur actor, a shouting politician, a small landlord, a small investor, a drinker, a good fellow, a storyteller, somebody’s secretary, something in a distillery, a taxgatherer, a bankrupt and at present a praiser of his own past.

James Joyce. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Page 213)

John Stanislaus Joyce died in Dublin on 29th December 1931, where he had been living on Claude Road in Drumcondra.

In early 1934, Paul Léon wrote to Constantine Curran saying that James Joyce wanted a bench erected on Whitworth Road , opposite Claude Road, and Curran replied saying that he had been in touch with the Corporation regarding siting. (The James Joyce Paul Léon Papers, page 90). I ran by and there is neither bench, nor space for one as Whitworth Road has no footpath on the southern side, opposite Claude Road. I doubled back up alongside the canal, with the railway separating the canal from Whitworth Road. This beautiful section of the canal would be a very fitting place for a bench.

A shared bench dedicated to father and son was finally erected in St. Stephen’s Green on June 14th 1977 and is described in John Stanislaus Joyce, The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father, (page 438) by John Wyse Jackson and Peter Costello. The text on the bench dedication reads:

In memory of James Joyce, Dubliner and his father John Stanislaus Joyce, Corkonian. 6th International James Joyce Symposium 1977.

John Stanislaus Joyce divided opinion. This may be why the bench is shared and he is pointedly described as being a Corkonian. Stanislaus Joyce had an uncharitable view of his father, which is continuously expressed in his book, My Brother’s Keeper, James Joyce’s Early Years.

In more jovial moments he would tell the fable, culled from Aesop or who knows what medieval bestiary, of how a fox gets rid of its fleas. When the fox is plagued by fleas, he explained , it jumps into the river and swims about until all the fleas collect on its nose. Then it gives one good whiff and blows them all into the water. That’s what he would do with the whole bloody lot of us, with the help of God and His Holy Mother, and go back to Cork. He would quote Goldsmith’s lines,

And as a hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants at the place from whence at first he flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexatious past,
There to return – and die at home at last.

I’ll get rid of you all and go back to Cork. But I will break your hearts before I go. Oh yes by God! See if I don’t. I’ll break your hearts, but I’ll break your stomachs first.

Stanislaus Joyce. My Brother’s Keeper (Page 240)

John Stanislaus Joyce never returned to Cork. There is an old Dublin saying about Cork people, told to me by my own father. When they get off the train in Hueston Station they throw a stone in the Liffey. And if it floats they go home.

Bibliography

Costello, P. and Jackson, J.W. (1998) John Stanislaus Joyce: The Voluminous Life and Genius of James Joyce’s Father. London, United Kingdom: Fourth Estate.

Fahy, C. (ed.) (1992) The James Joyce – Paul Léon Papers. Dublin, Ireland: National Library of Ireland.

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. (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.

Joyce, S. (2003) My Brother’s Keeper: James Joyce’s Early Years. Edited by Richard Ellmann. Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States: Da Capo Press.

Click here to see the route details on Runkeeper

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