In 1901 when Joyce’s article for his university magazine was censored, he sent it to Griffith at his paper The United Irishman. Griffith had it reviewed and wrote himself, “But why the censor strove to gag Mr Joyce is to me as profound a mystery as to why we should grow censors in this country. Turnips would be more useful.”
When Joyce was struggling unsuccessfully against the censors, to have Dubliners published, he sought to enlist the help of King George V and did enlist the help of Arthur Griffith. On his last visit to Dublin in 1912, Joyce called to see Griffith. He told him that he was engaged on a writing project which would have the potential to liberate the Irish people spiritually. He acknowledged that Griffith’s aim was to free his people economically and politically. In 1922 as Ulysses was published and Griffith became President of Dáil Eireann, it appeared that the two men were on their way to achieving their ambitions.
The irony that Arthur Griffith features throughout Joyce’s novel, bears testament that Joyce recognised the vital role Griffith played in liberating the Irish people.