A new app will let James Joyce fans walk through his work and his past, visiting the places in Dublin that he wrote about and where he spent time.
Joyce’s Dublin, now free on Android and iOS, allows users to see the places associated with his life and the lives of his characters.
The app, which is the first of its kind, lets you filter by chapter or theme. You can follow the places referenced in Ulysses as you read each chapter, or create your own walking tour of pubs, houses, schools and other places associated with Joyce.
Joyce lived in 20 different places in the north and south of the city. His family moved frequently as they descended into poverty, and these places continued to live in his imagination, long after he left Ireland in 1904.
Although many people associate Joyce with only a few locations (Davy Byrne’s, Eccles Street, the Martello Tower in Sandycove), almost the whole city and much of the suburbs are referenced in his books.
1 Merrion Square is one of the many lesser-known places that played a big part in Joyce’s life. The childhood home of Oscar Wilde, it was also where Joyce waited to meet Nora Barnacle for their first date on June 14, 1904. She stood him up that day but he wrote to her to re-arrange for June 16. This would be the date he commemorated in Ulysses.
Penneys on Henry Street is the site of the Volta Cinema where Joyce set up the first dedicated cinema in Ireland in 1909, after seeing how popular it was in Trieste.
And The Academy, Pearse Street was where Joyce shared a stage with the legendary John McCormack for the 1904 Feis Ceoil. His wife Nora never read his books, and always thought he should have been a singer instead. The app can also direct you to The James Joyce Centre, which displays the door of the famous 7 Eccles street, (where Leopold Bloom begins and ends his walk in Ulysses), on loan from the British retail giant Marks & Spencers.
When the house was being demolished to make way for the Mater Private Hospital, it was rescued by Patrick Kavanagh, Brian O'Nolan (Flann O’Brien) and the owner of the Bailey pub. It was through the purchase of this pub by Marks & Spencers to develop their Grafton street store that they ended up in possession of this Irish cultural artifact.
As museums and galleries have been shut by the coronavirus pandemic, Joyce's Dublin developers hope that the app will create a new, accessible cultural experience in Dublin.