Popping into Lynam’s
U 10.504-20: At the Dolphin they halted to allow the
ambulance car to gallop past them for Jervis street.
It would be an
exaggeration to say that debate has raged since the publication of Ulysses over the precise location of
‘Lynam’s’ on the roundabout route taken by Lenehan and M‘Coy from
Crampton Court towards the Ormond Hotel. Gifford (Ulysses Annotated) sums up the situation:
Betting plays a significant role in Ulysses and in Joyce’s Dublin generally. Society at the time imposed severe restrictions on the practice: betting was essentially only legal on racecourses or (through bookmakers or their ‘commission agents’) on credit. It was illegal to hand over cash – in the street, or in a private or a public house, in order to place a bet.
In recognition of the
problem the Westminster Government commissioned several reports which had a
bearing on betting. In 1902 the Street-Trading
Children Committee (Ireland) presented its Report
on the Employment of Children During School Age, especially in street trading
in the large centres of population in Ireland, and the same year saw
the publication of the Report from the Select Committee of
the House of Lords on Betting. The Street Betting Act of 1906 reinforced
already-stringent legislation by outlawing the making and taking on bets on the
street and in other public places. Nevertheless, betting was ingrained in the
lifestyle of the less-well-off, and it was rife in Dublin. The police seem to swing
between crackdowns and periods of neutrality.
Several responses from those worthies examined by the Street-Trading Children Committee in 1902 help to set the scene:
Stephen Hand bumps
into a ‘telegramboy’ delivering ‘tissues’ in Ulysses: see Racing
expresses and sporting tissues elsewhere on this
Joyce knew the three Nagle brothers who ran various businesses from a Dublin
pub. One of them (James Joseph Nagle: see for example U 12.198) was examined by the Committee:
The question set by
this article is “Where was Lynam’s?” where Lenehan discovered the starting
price for Throwaway, and “Who was Lyman?” Joyce gives very little context, but
it is possible to identify the Lynam family and Lenehan’s probable destination.
The 1901 census
offers help: Richard Lynam of 90 Lower Gardiner Street, North Dock, was a
‘bookmaker’. North Dock was then a rather seedy area of Dublin north of the
river – containing the red-light district centred around Lower Mecklenburgh (later
Tyrone) Street. Joyce’s father John knew the area as it had once been part of
his rate-collection district, and James Joyce and his friends visited the area
from time to time. Perhaps Richard operated out of a shop or office near Temple
Bar at the time.
By 1911 Richard is
living at 9 St. Patrick’s Terrace, Mountjoy (the ward next to North Dock), but
in the census he says he has no occupation. However, his younger brothers Denis
(at 3 St. Patrick’s Terrace) and Patrick (20 Summer Street North, Mountjoy) are
both in the betting game, and describe themselves as ‘bookmaker’ and
‘commission agent’ respectively.
All three lived north
of the river, whereas Temple Bar is just south, and it is quite possible that
they were known to use rooms or offices there. And there is ample evidence that
illegal betting was conducted in the Temple Bar area of Dublin in the early
years of the twentieth century:
It is feasible that any of the Lynam boys were running unofficial betting operations in any of these – or other – places in the locality, but given the brevity of Joyce’s allusion is does not seem possible to pick out one brother as a more likely source than the others. All were in trouble with the law throughout their early lives, as shown by the Dublin prison registers recently published online. This, for example, is Richard (‘Dick’) Lyman (sometimes Lynagh or Lynach) in 1902:
Richard was a large
man. He was a leading light of the Dublin boxing fraternity in the 1890s, a
middle-weight amateur champion and contemporary of Myler Keogh. Both he and his
brother Denis were well-known figures in the underworld of Joyce’s Dublin, and
(without describing any more of their youthful exploits) we can pass to the
notices of their deaths for a retrospective of their careers:
Gogarty knew ‘Dick’
Lynam well enough, at least by reputation. He includes Lynam in a piece of
doggerel poetry, and lists him among the inhabitants of the Dublin underworld
of his youth:
But although the Lynam boys were bookmakers and commission agents, we should also consider the possibility that it was their father Patrick to whom Lenehan turned in Ulysses.
Patrick Lynam was the
father of Richard, Denis, and Patrick Lynam. He was born around 1851 in Dublin.
He too was in and out of trouble with the police in his youth, but gradually
established himself as a ‘betting man’ or bookmaker, attending race meetings
across Ireland and doubtless in England too.
At the time of his early
death in 1895 his bookmaking and other businesses seem to have been in decline,
as his son Richard had to auction property belonging to Patrick in Lower Tyrone
Street, Elliott Place, Upper Mercer Street, and Purdon Street, in the North
Dock area of the city.
Two additional points
about Patrick Lynam stand out. Firstly, he lived with his wife Maria at No 2 Lower
Fownes Street in the early 1870s. Lower Fownes Street is a short street which runs
from Temple Bar up to the Liffey. Thom’s Directory
shows that the only buildings with a Lower Fownes Street address were two
tenements (owners or occupiers unspecified; other buildings on the street
fronted directly on to Temple Bar in the south or Wellington Quay to the north).
In 1873 the Freeman’s Journal tells
Whether these ‘improper characters’ were betting men is not stated, but it seems a strong possibility. Patrick and his wife Maria are both stated as still living at 2 (Lower) Fownes Street in the Freeman’s Journal of 24 March 1875.
The route taken by Lenehan and M'Coy towards the Ormond Hotel from Crampton Court
Map by kind permission of Ian Gunn, University of Edinburgh
The Lynam family’s
property portfolio therefore extended to No 2 Lower Fownes Street. This is
therefore likely to be the address at which Lenehan sought Throwaway’s starting
price, while M‘Coy waited back in Temple Bar. Once Lenehan had rejoined M‘Coy
they then proceeded a few more yards down Temple Bar before turning up the
Merchants’ Arch passageway through to the quays.
The second and final remaining point about Patrick Lynam concerns his wife Maria and her network of friends. Maria Nolan was also in trouble with the police on various occasions, it would seem, in the 1870s and later. By the late 1870s Patrick and Maria had moved to Lower Temple Street, in the Mecklenburgh/North Dock area of Dublin north of the river. Maria Nolan was one of Dublin’s ‘madams’ and according to Thom’s Directory for 1884 she was living in Lower Temple Street in the house next to ‘Mrs Cohen’.
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