Joyce's Environs

Strange words, allusions, and characters constitute only a fraction of Joyce’s text. In addition the reader encounters a mass of other topics as the narratives progress. These pages provide background material on many of these – demonstrating that the back streets of Joyce’s fiction are filled with sights, scenes, and other cultural references that would have been familiar to the Dubliners of his day, but which have over the years become gradually less familiar to his readers.

For a full listing of notes and articles on Joyce's Environs go to Articles

"James Joyce writes as if it might be taken for granted that his readers know, not only the city

he writes about, but its little shops and its little shows, the nicknames that have been given

to its near-great, the cant phrases that have been used on the side streets."

Mary and Padraic Colum, Our Friend James Joyce (1959), p. 142

Link to the new and expanded online edition of James Joyce's Dublin, A Topographical Guide to the Dublin of Ulysses,

by Ian Gunn and Clive Hart with Harald Beck (2022)

Moses Golden

A jailbird and violent crim, Golden was evidently an unsavoury character. And, yet, it was around this time that he first made a splash in the papers for his more virtuous career of rescuer from drowning.

Moses Golding, labourer, 41 Poolbeg street, saw the man in the water, and pluckily jumped in to his rescue. Fortunately he succeeded in holding him up until a boat was procured, in which Redmond was placed and rowed to the Northern side of the quays, little the worse from the immersion.

Mad nun screeching: St Vincent’s Hospital as Joyce knew it

In Portrait Joyce referred to St Vincent’s as “the nuns’ madhouse”, and to a limited extent only is this accurate. In the hospital’s founding documentation the clear intention was that it should become a psychiatric hospital for the Catholic middle class of both sexes. [more]

Exit Carr

Perceptions of the English Players, the theatrical company founded during the First World War in Zurich by James Joyce and Claud Sykes, have been dominated by the misunderstanding between Joyce and actor Henry Carr at the Players’ first performance... [more]

A floor plan for the Holles Street Hospital

The action of the Ulysses episode known as “Oxen of the Sun is set principally in Dublin’s National Maternity Hospital, just off Merrion Square, and generally known as Holles Street Hospital or just ‘Holles Street’. [more]

Sanitary matters at No. 7 Eccles street

The Dublin house of No. 7 Eccles street exists in two realms: one is factual and the other fictional. The fictional world started in 1922 on the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses and the factual one started in 1770 and became history in April 1967. [more]

On the authorship of a Freeman sub-editorial

In an essay for the James Joyce Quarterly in 2007, Terence Matthews convincingly argued that an unsigned editorial in the Freeman’s Journal of 10 September 1912, entitled “Politics and Cattle Disease”, which had been attributed to James Joyce ... was a misattribution. [more]

Beyond the façade – Uncovering the physical structure of No. 7 Eccles Street

To discover the real No. 7 Eccles Street it was important to be wary of the seductive fiction of Ulysses, even though it was clear that Joyce favoured memory over imagination. [more]