Miss Douce and Miss Kennedy at a different bar
U 11.64-5: Bronze by gold, miss Douce’s head by miss Kennedy’s head, over the crossblind of the Ormond bar heard the viceregal hoofs go by, ringing steel.
Again that spelling ‘Douse’, and Miss Douse has ‘the golden hair’ here.
The Bailey had been established in 1830 by Eliza Bailey, and had been run for many years as the Bailey Tavern. Alice Dowse’s surname is that of ‘Miss Douce’ in Ulysses, but it is one of her sisters, rather than Alice herself, who is likely to be the ‘Miss Douce’ of Joyce’s text.
The Dowses came from Tinahely in Wicklow, where they had been involved in the Wicklow Rebellion of 1798 and the Fitzwilliam clearances of the mid nineteenth century. Thomas and Anne Dowse had many children – almost one a year between 1864 and 1885. Some did not survive. Most of the girls migrated to Dublin, and the 1901 census shows Alice and her sisters Maggie and Helena at 2/3 Duke Street (the address of the Bailey Restaurant). By now Alice has married William Hogan (the licensee) and both are listed as proprietors of the restaurant, where Maggie is the Manageress and Helena the cashier.
By the time we reach 1904 and Bloomsday we assume that ‘Maggie’ (Margaret) Dowse was manager of the Bailey, and she would naturally be the person we would identify with Joyce’s ‘Miss Douce’. Sadly Maggie died in May 1908, and her younger sister Helena (properly Ellen) became manageress, with her sister Alice and Alice’s husband William as joint proprietors.
This would be an acceptable identification if it were not for James Meagher. He recalls that Joyce’s ‘Miss Douce’ was Manageress of the Bailey at the time he was a ‘customer’. As James was only 8 when Maggie died, he will only have known Ellen as the Manageress, and so he clearly regarded Ellen Dowse as Joyce’s ‘Miss Douce’, though Joyce changed her first name to ‘Lydia’.
The Bailey’s census listing for 1901 is suggestive in another way. The ‘House Keeper’ of the Bailey is a young Queen’s County (Co Laois) girl called Mary Kennedy. Little is known about Mary, but she was still living at the Bailey in 1911 (see the census return) as ‘House Keeper’, listed directly under the Manageress and ‘Head of Family’ Ellen Dowse. The Hogans remained as proprietors but now lived at 24 Lansdowne Road, Dublin.
It seems that Joyce used at least the surnames of Ellen (or perhaps Maggie) Dowse and of Mary Kennedy, manageress and housekeeper at the Bailey Restaurant in Duke Street for the names of the Sirens' barmaids Lydia Douce and Mina Kennedy.
But Ellen herself survived the sale by only four years, dying herself on 3 November 1951 in a Dublin nursing home.
1 Luca Crispi “A First Foray into the National Library of Ireland’s Joyce Manuscripts: Bloomsday 2011” in Genetic Joyce Studies Issue 11 (Spring 2011): http://www.antwerpjamesjoycecenter.com/GJS11/LCrispiGJS.htm (accessed 24 December 2011).
2 J. A. Meagher “A Dubliner Reads ‘Ulysses’” in Australian Quarterly, vol. 17, No. 2 (June, 1945), p. 75.
3 On the ‘habit’ of confusing the Bailey and the Burton see S. B. Bushrui and B. Benstock James Joyce, an international perspective: centenary essays in honour of the late Sir Desmonde Cochrane (1982), pp. 48 and 64, where the misconception is traced back to 1947.
4 Best value in town: Joyce’s Goulding calls the Ormond, where Miss Douce works in Ulysses, the ‘best value in Dublin’ (U 11.357); the Bailey was one of Gogarty’s favourite haunts:
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