November 7, 2013

James Joyce’s Dublin in pictures


Blessington Street with a crowd of mourners

The Google Cultural Institute has compiled a number of images from James Joyce’s time to supplement his fiction with visual references. The funeral services and seaside probably look the same way you’d imagined them, but the apparel (pipes! Gladstone bags!) and street scenes are worth a closer look.

The photographer was J.J. Clarke, a medical student in Dublin who took a number of portraits between 1897 and 1904. One image of a man holding a skeleton is speculated to be his self-portrait.

You’ll see the car race that served as the setting for “After the Race,” the domed reading room where “Scylla and Charybdis” was set, the Sandymont Strand, a place both Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom visit in different parts of Ulysses, and a funeral on Blessington Street, where Bloom walked on his way to Glasnevin Cemetery. You can even see the kinds of carriages Bloom might have ridden in in “Hades.”

If you feel moved to do so, you can tour the Ormond Quay while listening to “The Croppy Boy.” But you may as well get off the internet and buy yourself a ticket to the Joyce tour in Ireland, nerd.

Two hundred of Clarke’s photos are part of the collection of the National Library of Ireland. Most of the images are set around Westmoreland Street, Grafton Street, Merrion Square, and St. Stephen’s Green. An exhibit of Clarke’s work titled Dubliners toured in 2001. You can view individual portraits in the National Library’s online archive.

The National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street

Kirsten Reach was an editor at Melville House.