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Carlisle girls

Carlisle girls

 


U 1.698 You know that red Carlisle girl, Lily?


Gerard O'Flaherty has pointed out in conversation that "Carlisle" is neither a reference to Lily’s surname nor to the English town, but would have been clearly understood by Dubliners as a reference to Carlisle Pier in Kingstown (modern Dún Laoghaire). This connection is not only hinted at in the context of Telemachus ("Spooning with him last night on the pier": U 1.700), but also in Nestor (U 2.33-6):

Kingstown pier, sir.

     Some laughed again: mirthless but with meaning. Two in the back bench whispered. Yes. They knew: had never learned nor ever been innocent.


      A passage in George Moore's Salve is more explicit:

The light-of-love is becoming as rare as the chough, and on the dusty stairs of the Gaelic League I remembered how numerous they used to be on Kingstown Pier on Sundays, all of them beautifully dressed in sea-green dresses and seal-skin jackets.

George Moore, Salve (London 1912), p. 119

      Although Seymour's girl Lily is hardly meant to be seen as a prostitute - her father being "rotto" (= rotten) with money (U 1.700)" - the insinuation is that she is a lighthearted flirt who used to meet men at Carlisle Pier. The male view is confirmed by Buck Mulligan's comment on her:  "Redheaded women buck like goats."

Harald Beck


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