James Joyce’s Ulysses route through Dublin
The James Joyce’s Ulysses route through Dublin is one of the most fascinating ones because it tells a story of a love-hate relation and the History of a population. James Joyce has decided to set up this Ulysses in Dublin ending up in a big tribute to the city and also in a series of big criticism about the society and the Church. The locations of the Ulysses by James Joyce in Dublin, those that are still visible today, are in fact the perfect way to explore the city and give you an insight on the relationship between the writer and the city. The Irish author often declared that he did not love Dublin at all but later ended up with the inclusion of the city in almost all of its production, recounting strengths and weaknesses. And it is precisely in Dublin that Ulysses is set, the most famous novel by Joyce that lives every year among its inhabitants.
“When I die, Dublin will be written on my heart” – James Joyce
James Joyce’s Ulysses route through Dublin and the Bloomsday
The main work of Joyce, The Ulysses, is a real puzzle game that I recommend reading but you have to pay a lot of attention: it is made up of over 1000 pages and 265,000 words and many of these are written following the so-called “stream of consciousness” meaning that the author leaves the words flowing freely without punctuation. A difficult novel that must be understood to understand the author and his story as well as his Irish background.
James Joyce’s Ulysses route through Dublin on the 16th of June 1904
Leopold Bloom, the main character, spends just one day in Dublin and these are the things he does:
No 7 Eccles Street
It is the home of Leopold and it is here that his day begins in Ulysses: “Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine”, to quote the novel-
Eccles Street is also the ideal end of his adventure with the famous monologue of his wife Molly Bloom, 40 pages with only two punctuation marks.
Today, the famous Eccles Street home is no longer there and has been replaced by a hospital.
St George’s Church, Hardwick Place
St. George’s church is mentioned because of the bells that Leopold hears from his house on Eccles Street on Sunday morning.
Rotunda Hospital, Parnell Square
Quickly quoted in the Ulysses, Rotunda Hospital is the place where Bloom goes to the funeral of Paddy Dignam.
That’s where Leopold Bloom sees Dilly Dedalus at the Dillon auction house, thinking he was in the area to sell his apartment. Instead of Dillon, today there is a beautiful bookstore with a restaurant, The Winding Stair, a highly recommended stop.
Leopold crosses the famous O’Connell Bridge to buy a cake to throw at the seagulls.
Bank of Ireland, College Green
Leopold Bloom walks in front of the bank and this is where Stephen Dedalus also goes to convert the money gotten at the Belvedere College. Walking across the street in the direction of Trinity College, he moves towards the statue of Thomas Moore that Leopold in the Ulysses commented with references at that time.
Passing through the famous college, Leopold Bloom remembers how he would never have lived here: an episode closely linked to the life of James Joyce himself who, unlike many other Irish writers, never studied at Trinity because he never received a special recommendation from the Church.
In Chapter 5 of the Ulysses, Leopold Bloom enters this pharmacy, begins to look around, feels the perfume of the products and he is fascinated by a lemon soap that takes away with him. Today Sweny’s Chemist is exactly where it was then, inviting tourists and locals as well as organizing events related to Joyce but not only.
Merrion Square & The National Art Gallery
Bloom and Dedalus quickly walk under the entrance of the National Gallery while Leopold alone visits the National Maternity Hospital, on the other side of the square, to go to find Mina Purefoy.
St Stephen’s Green
Dublin’s central green lung is central in Ulysses and Leopold describes it in al almost epic way.
The National Museum, Kildare Street
Here Leopold Bloom, in spite of escaping the encounter with his wife’s lover, Blazes Boylan, lurks for not being seen.
Molesworth Street & Dawson Street
Leopold Bloommeets a blind man and helps him cross the street, describing gestures and aptitude in a poetic way. Today there is a commemorative plaque with the lines of the Ulysses.
Davy Byrnes, Duke Street
The par excellence place when talking about Joyce and Ulysses in Dublin: in this pub, Leopold stops to order a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of Burgundy. Today the pub is among the most populars and the menu includes its own gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of Burgundy to be drank and eaten by looking at the commemorative plaque on the sidewalk.
Dublin’s main street is also in the Ulysses: Bloom wanted to buy a gift for Molly but it is above all the Bewley’s Oriental Cafe, now under a renovation, to be mentioned.
James Joyce’s Ulysses route through Dublin: map
The BloomsDay in Dublin
Every year, thousands of people dress up in Edwardian clothes and walk into the streets of Dublin to pay homage to James Joyce and Leopold Bloom. The greatest concentration of people and events is around Davy Byrnes but the whole city intensely lives the recurrence. BloomsDayFestival takes place every year for about a week offering specific tours on Leopold’s or James Joyce’s tracks and organizing events, dinners, reading and exhibitions. For more information visit the James Joyce Centre and the BloomsDay Festival.
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Are you heading to Dublin and do you want more information on customized tours but also on things to do, where to eat and drink and more? Write me an email or follow me on Instagram and Facebook and do not be afraid to ask for more information or a customized consultation! If you want to have photographic tips on what and where to go to take good pictures get in contact with Giuseppe, based in Ireland as well.
[All pics are copyright Giuseppe Milo]