Transitioning through James Joyce’s Dublin
As part of Mr Tom Carroll’s English class, Transition Year students are studying James Joyce’s Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, so where better to start than with a day out in Joyce’s Dublin? ‘City of paralysis’ it is not as the budding Joyceans discovered on their own Odyssey from Gardiner Street to Denmark Street and Belvedere College and then into North Great George’s street for a special visit to the James Joyce Centre. Normally closed on Mondays, the centre opened specially to give us complete access to the exhibitions and displays held there.
After a brief introduction to the life of Joyce we set out to retrace some of the footsteps in Dubliners. First port of call was Hardwicke Street and No. 32, site of a house once lived in by the Joyce family. However, what caught the imagination was No.4, setting for the ‘Boarding House’. Jaws dropped when it was revealed that it may have been a brothel at the time of the story and imaginations ran riot as speculation raced between No.4 and the nearby St. George’s Church!
On we went towards the city centre, retracing a famous walk from June 16th, 1904 (Bloomsday), passing by Parnell’s monument and an introduction to the famous Christmas dinner in The Portrait. While pointing out various aspects of Joyce’s Dublin, the group paused (and posed… Ed) by the Joyce statue on North Earl Street. While on the Liffey Boardwalk more aspects of Joyce were revealed including the brass markers in the ground marking Mr Bloom’s progress in the Lestrygonians episode in Ulysses.
After lunch (not ‘scoffing up stewgravy with sopping sippets of bread’ we hope…Ed), a visit to No 86 Stephen’s Green and the University church – site of the original UCD, which features prominently at the end of Portrait. We had a final stop at the Joyce monument in the green before pausing for a eulogy at the statue of the tragic Old Clongownian, Tom Kettle ended a very enjoyable day for all concerned.
It’s fitting that the group try to get a feel for James Joyce, past student and writer who spent time at Clongowes and Belvedere. His legacy will be long and memorable and one wonders if sitting in front of us today could be another budding author?