My Cousin Jimmy

It’s impossible to make it through a semester in Dublin without mentioning the late great James Joyce or, as we Joyces like to call him, Jimbo.

The great, world renowned Irish author. The man considered by many to be one of the most influential writers of all time. Cousin Jimmy. Well, as far as anyone who has asked the question, ‘Joyce? Like the author?’ is concerned, Cousin Jimmy.

Let’s talk about auld Jim.

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The Dublin literary Experience class together with James Joyce. Photo by Caroline Elbay

A quick overview of Joyce: he was born in Dublin in 1882 to a wealthy family with a father who drank away their money, forcing them to move approximately eighteen times in the course of Joyce’s young life. He met his lover Nora Barnacle at Finn’s Hotel in Dublin, and after about a month they left together for Trieste then Paris and Zurich. Joyce’s final resting place is in Zurich, Switzerland. During his years of travel he wrote many novels and stories. Some of his most famous works are Ulysses, Dubliners, Finnegan’s Wake, and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

 

In the Dublin Literary Experience class, we read several stories from Dubliners and on Wednesday, 8th of October, we took another field trip, this time to explore Joyce’s Dublin. Stops included the grand Gresham Hotel, mentioned in ‘The Dead’, the statue of the man himself just off O’Connell Street, Hardwick Street where he lived for some time, and the James Joyce Centre to learn more about the author and the great literature he produced.

The James Joyce Centre, situated in a Georgian style house on the North Side of the River Liffey, is a bit of a hidden treasure in Dublin. The centre is partially a museum, but hosts different events every week, including Joyce readings with the fantastic Caroline Elbay, who teaches the literature and music classes at Champlain Abroad Dublin. The grand house is separated into three floors. On the top is an exhibit dedicated to Joyce’s life and Ulysses, considered to be his most famous novel. The floor below is the Kenmare Room, where the centre shows passing exhibits (currently a Lee Miller photography exhibit of Joyce’s Dublin). The entrance floor has a room for meetings, a bookshop, and a vastly important back courtyard.

How could a courtyard be so important? Well, behind the James Joyce Centre is another Georgian front door, the door to Number 7 Eccles Street. Perhaps the most famous address in Dublin, it was the fictitious home of Leopold Bloom in Ulysses, which outlines Bloom’s journey through Dublin and its surrounding towns on 16 June of 1904. The door has been on display at the James Joyce Centre since the 1990s since it was donated as an exhibit by Marks & Spencer, a grocery, clothing, and home shop in Europe.

It truly was an honor to go on this adventure through the North of Dublin, especially to see the centre that is so dedicated to continuing the legacy of the great James Joyce. It was also fun to make a mental map of the places depicted in his literature.

Good on you, Jim.

Kara Joyce
Champlain Abroad Dublin, Fall 2014
Champlain College, Professional Writing, Class of 2016