I grew up in Marino, a garden city suburb in north-east Dublin that was built in 1927, neighbouring the older and littoral Dublin settlements of Fairview and Clontarf.
James Joyce had always been there, but not there. He was a subject rarely if ever broached, his books seldom read, save for a few curious initiates.
I left Dublin in 1988 for Germany - arriving in Frankfurt am Main exactly a year to the day before the Fall of the Berlin Wall - not knowing that it was to become a sojourn of a journey that would last most of my lifetime.
Little did I know at the time, nor was it taught to us when I attended school in Marino, that James Joyce and his family had lived very close by, at 29 Windsor Avenue in Fairview from 1896 - 1899, in a pretty, two-storey, Victorian house - with a front bay window facing the street and a spacious green garden out back.
I had been unknowingly encircled by James Joyce for so many years and must have passed this cosy terraced house hundreds of times over the years on my ways to and from the shops on the Fairview front, or on my ways to, or home, from either college or town.
James Joyce 'the teenager' lived at four addresses in Fairview when he attended secondary school at Belvedere College on Great Denmark Street and as he entered his study of Modern Languages, Latin, and Logic at University College Dublin on St. Stephen's Green (1898 - 1902). A seminal period in his personal development and an exciting time in his academic journey.
I can see him travelling to and from college - either by foot, bicycle or tram - passing as "The superior, the very reverend John Conmee S.J." does in ULYSSES Wandering Rocks Episode 1, Annesley Bridge and the North Strand, Newcomen Bridge and St. Agatha's Church, Aldborough House and The Five Lamps, on his way into town and home again afterwards, stopping briefly at a shop in Fairview, to purchase something along the way.
Indeed, James Joyce lived at nineteen addresses in total before setting off in 1904 to live at lots more addresses on the continent with his inspiration, muse and future wife, Nora Barnacle.
James Joyce's Fairview addresses included (see street map below):
29 Windsor Avenue - 1896 - 1899 (having moved there from 17 North Richmond Street)
7 Convent Avenue - 1899
15 Richmond Avenue - 1899 - 1900
8 Royal Terrace (now Inverness Road) - 1900 - 1901 (moving on from there to 32 Glengariff Parade, North Circular Road)
A UCD graduate class from 1902. Pictured among the group is James Joyce, standing, second from left
Photo UCD Archives
Fairview, Ballybough, Clontarf, Dollymount and Howth - the sloblands (now Fairview Park), the river Tolka (where Brian Boru's son Turlough was slain by a Dane at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014), the curvy Clontarf coastline, strong sea breezes and fresh salt air, the "wooden bridge" at Dollymount Strand, Dublin's broad bay and the iconic Howth Head (where Marion 'Molly 'Tweedy finally said "YES" to Leopold Bloom ) - left a lasting impression on the young James Joyce, and feature in all three of his novels - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ULYSSES and Finnegan' Wake.
See for example, the following six passages as they relate to Fairview and its coastal environs:
"Walking down by the Tolka. Not bad for a Fairview moon. She was humming. The young May moon she's beaming, love. He other side of her."
"and our white flint glass down there by Ballybough"
"He turned seaward from the road at Dollymount and as he passed on to the thin wooden bridge he felt the planks shaking with the tramp of heavily shod feet."
from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
"At the Howth road stop Father Conmee alighted, was saluted by the conductor and saluted in his turn. The Malahide road was quiet. It pleased Father Conmee, road and name."
"the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes"
"Only for my short Brittas bed made's as snug as it smells it's out I'd lep and off with me to the slobs deaua Tolka or the plage au Clontarf to feale the gay air of my salt troublin bay and the race of the saywint up me ambushure."
"the vaulsies have meed and youdled through the purly ooze of Ballybough"
from Finnegans Wake.
Of Joyce's umpteen Dublin residences, 29 Windsor Avenue is specifically mentioned in ULYSSES in Section 14 of Wandering Rocks in an episode that concerns a legal action being taken by Reverend Hugh C. Love of Sallins in Co. Kildare to evict his tenant, the wayward and spendthrift, Father Bob Crowley, who owes several months' back rent.
This, no doubt, is an embarrassing situation that the young James Joyce was already fairly well familiar with in the Joyce household when he lived at 29 Windsor Avenue. A situation which was the root cause of his father John Stanislaus Joyce (1849-1931) being constantly on the go, in debt, and his mother Mary Jane or 'May' Joyce (1859-1903) at her wits end, from one house move to the next.
The text in ULYSSES as it relates to 29 Windsor Avenue is as follows:
"The reverend Hugh C. Love walked from the old chapterhouse of saint Mary’s abbey past James and Charles Kennedy’s, rectifiers, attended by Geraldines tall and personable, towards the Tholsel beyond the ford of hurdles.
Ben Dollard with a heavy list towards the shopfronts led them forward, his joyful fingers in the air.
— Come along with me to the subsheriff’s office, he said. I want to show you the new beauty Rock has for a bailiff.
He’s a cross between Lobengula and Lynchehaun. He’s well worth seeing, mind you. Come along. I saw John Henry Menton casually in the Bodega just now and it will cost me a fall if I don’t... Wait awhile... We’re on the right lay, Bob, believe you me.
— For a few days tell him, Father Cowley said anxiously.
Ben Dollard halted and stared, his loud orifice open, a dangling button of his coat wagging brightbacked from its thread as he wiped away the heavyshraums that clogged his eyes to hear aright.
— What few days? he boomed. Hasn’t your landlord distrained for rent?
— He has, Father Cowley said.
— Then our friend’s writ is not worth the paper it’s printed on, Ben Dollard said. The landlord has the prior claim. I gave him all the particulars. 29 Windsor avenue. Love is the name?
— That’s right, Father Cowley said. The reverend Mr Love. He’s a minister in the country somewhere. But are you sure of that?
— You can tell Barabbas from me, Ben Dollard said, that he can put that writ where Jacko put the nuts.
He led Father Cowley boldly forward, linked to his bulk.
— Filberts I believe they were, Mr Dedalus said, as he dropped his glasses on his coatfront, following them."
29 Windsor Avenue
Ballybough Jewish Cemetery, Ireland's oldest Jewish cemetery dating back to 1714 (situated at Fairview Strand where it meets Richmond Road, near the river Tolka, now the Luke Kelly bridge), would have been a familiar sight to the young teenage James Joyce - with it being only a 5 minute walk from his four Fairview abodes. The last burial here was in 1908.
The inscription over the door of the Guardian's Lodge gives the Hebrew year of its construction as 5618 (1857). I reckon that James Joyce, like my younger self, and many others over the years, was fascinated by this curious piece of local information. The forever observant Joyce most certainly witnessed burials here and Jewish Dubliners visiting relatives' graves.
OLD JEWISH CEMETERY BALLYBOUGH
By the the early 20th century, the Fairview Jewish community - who originally hailed in the second half of the 17th century from Southern Spain and the Canary Islands - had migrated south of Anna Livia Plurabelle to Rialto, Dolphin's Barn and the South Circular Road, and the graveyard slowly fell out of use, and eventually, into disrepair. Dublin City Council took over the plot a couple of years ago and are working on its restoration and conservation as a National Monument which it fully deserves to become.
Molly Bloom, it may indeed be noted at this point, was born in Southern Spain as the daughter of Major Brian Cooper Tweedy (who was stationed at Gibraltar), and of a southern Spanish Jewish mother called Lunita Laredo ("lovely name she had" - from ULYSSES).
"Pride of Calpe's (Gibraltar) rocky mount, the ravenhaired daughter of Tweedy. There she grew to peerless beauty where loquat and almond scent the air. The gardens of Almeda knew her step; the garths of olives knew and bowed."
from ULYSSES Cyclops episode.
Coincidence by any chance, or ... another 'Fairview strand' - to coin a fitting colloquial phrase, a Southern Spanish - Gibraltar Rock - and Ballybough Jewish - connection and literary lead, that could be well worth Joyceans pursuing???
What James Joyce teaches us once again with these three little words from ULYSSES' Wandering Rocks,"29 Windsor ave." , is that he had an incredible eye and finely-tuned ear for 'wonderdetail'; his Dublin memoryscapes literally dotted with humble but pregnant examples such as this of that temporary, but three-year, Joycean family abode.
Formative years, when James Joyce's creative juices were flowing at high and low tides, under the Dublin Bay sun and the Fairview full moon, the eternal fruits of which, were, and are, finally to come home. To rest. And to stay.
Allowing the hidden secrets of 'Joycescripts', to be slowly, and gradually, and beautifully revealed. At their own pace.
The house immediately next door to the Ballybough Jewish Cemetery Gatehouse, at Nr. 89 Fairview Strand, was a Royal Irish Constabulary Barracks from 1830 until 1910, when the police moved out to the new Clontarf Barracks on the Coast Road nearby.
Windsor Avenue in 1913
A fascinating, if quite ominous, photograph of R.I.C. men assembling in 1913* in Windsor Avenue - as indeed James Joyce would have known it (* The year of James Larkin and the 'Dublin 1913 Lockout').
The Joyce family / Father Crowley's house is situated centre background on the left-hand side of the street, well before the tall Croydon Park trees (sadly now gone).
Old postcard of Fair View Corner - Windsor Avenue is behind the gabled house on the right
Map showing Fairview and Ballybough today
Windsor Avenue is almost centre - running north to south
Nr. 29 is to the lower right of St. Mary's National School
Convent Avenue, Richmond Avenue and Inverness Road
may be clearly seen to the left of Windsor Avenue - running NNE to SSW
Ballybough Cemetery is also shown
See two NEW articles written specially for #ULYSSES100:
AND SEE ESPECIALLY
ULYSSES 100 - A Trilogy of Thoughts & Ten New Poems
by PATRICK PATRIDGE
as PAPERBACK Booklet and amazon Kindle editions
PAPERBACK PURCHASE LINKS:
FOOTSTEPS - Poetry & Prose 1987-2021 by PATRICK PATRIDGE
(available from Amazon stores worldwide in Kindle, Paperback and Hardback editions).
#JAMESJOYCE #ULYSSES #DUBLIN #ULYSSES100 #LITERATURE
#FAIRVIEW #CLONTARF #BALLYBOUGH #MARINO
#MOLLYBLOOM #FINNEGANSWAKE #HOWTH
#BLOOMSDAY #BLOOMSEVE #BLOOMSBLOSSOM