Padraig Colman

Rambling ruminations of an Irishman in Sri Lanka

Tag: James Joyce

Lucia Joyce

This article was published in the Mosaic section of Ceylon Today on Sunday June 15 2014.


On June 16 every year, aficionados of James Joyce’s Ulysses celebrate Bloomsday, named for Leopold Bloom, the main character, reliving the events of the novel, which is set on 16 June 1904. That was the date of Joyce’s first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle (Joyce’s father said, “Well, she’ll stick to him, anyway”).

I made my own preparations for Bloomsday by re-reading To Dance in the Wake by Carol Loeb Shloss, a biography of Joyce’s daughter, Lucia. Lucia was the light giver, the “wonder wild,” Joyce wrote. She was the “Rainbow girl” in Finnegans Wake, Issy the temptress, who magically breaks up into the colours of the rainbow. Lucia had a mind “as clear and as unsparing as the lightning,” Joyce once wrote in a letter. “She is a fantastic being.”


Lucia studied dance with Isadora Duncan’s brother, Raymond, and did lively impressions of Charlie Chaplin. In 1927, she had a part in Jean Renoir’s film The Little Match Girl. She danced with Les Six (a name given to a group of French composers – Auric, Poulenc, Milhaud, Honegger, Tailleferre and Durey). A French journalist wrote in 1928, “When she reaches her full capacity for rhythmic dancing, James Joyce may yet be known as his daughter’s father.” In 1929, Lucia Joyce was one of six finalists in the first international festival of dance in Paris. She wore the costume shown on the cover of the book – a slithery-scaled mermaid costume of blue, green and silver that she designed and made. The audience booed when first prize was awarded to a Frenchwoman, and demanded it be given to “the Irish girl.”


Today, Lucia Joyce, if she thought of at all, is regarded as the mad daughter of a famous father. She spent the last 45 years of her life in institutions, incarcerated and medicated, until she died in 1982, at the age of 75. Was she mad? What was the nature of her illness? How did it manifest itself? When did it start? What caused it?

Joyce 1924 J,N,L,G

It seems that Lucia’s relationship with her famous father might have been a big factor. Being treated by another famous man, Carl Gustav Jung, did not help. “To think that such a big, fat materialistic Swiss man should try to get hold of my soul,” she said. Jung thought her so bound up with her father’s psychic system, that analysis could not be successful. Jung himself seemed to be obsessed with his own loathing of Joyce.


At her father’s 50th birthday, on February 2 1932, she threw a chair at her mother, Nora. The immediate reason for the tantrum was that her parents had invited Samuel Beckett to the party. Lucia and Beckett had been lovers. Beckett worked as a secretary for Joyce and had many friends in his circle. It would have been odd not to invite Beckett but Lucia saw it as a personal betrayal. Her brother, Giorgio, took her to a medical clinic and checked her in.


Lucia started to show signs of mental illness in 1930, around the time she began her relationship with Beckett. Beckett told her that he was more interested in James Joyce than in her.Around the same time, three other men rejected her.

0 R

The artist Alexander Calder, bedded her, but soon went back to his fiancée; and another artist, Albert Hubbell, had an affair with her and also went back to his wife. In 1932, she was contemplating marriage to Alec Ponisovsky, who gave Joyce Russian lessons. Ponisovsky was in love with another woman and Lucia still pined for Beckett. She collapsed, lying for days in a catatonic state.


It was difficult to treat her because no one could decide what was wrong with her. Psychiatry may not inspire much confidence even in 2014, but in the 1930s, it was scrabbling around to make its mind up. One doctor said she was “hebephrenic,” a word used to describe patients who showed antic behavior. Another said she was “not lunatic but markedly neurotic.” A third thought the problem was “cyclothymia,” akin to manic-depressive illness. Others guessed at a range of possibilities from schizophrenia to syphilis to barbiturate addiction to simple moodiness. Her treatments included injections with seawater and animal serum, barbiturates and solitary confinement.

In 1933, when friends called Joyce to congratulate him on winning his obscenity trial in the United States, enabling the publication of Ulysses, Lucia cut the phone wire, saying, “I am the artist!” In 1935, she visited some cousins in Bray, near Dublin. She started a fire in the living room, and when her cousins’ boyfriends came to call, she tried to unbutton their trousers. She sent telegrams to dead people. She also, night after night, turned on the gas tap. Then she disappeared to Dublin, where she tramped the streets for six days, sleeping in doorways.

Lucia did not have a normal childhood. She was born in 1907 in a Trieste pauper’s ward, after her father had exiled himself from Dublin. By the age of seven, she had lived at five different addresses. Their parents often left Lucia and her brother Giorgio home alone. ”You are locking us up like pigs in a sty,” the children shouted to their departing parents. By the age of thirteen, she had lived in three different countries. She shared her parents’ bedroom until well into her teens, and was expected to observe outdated social codes that shocked her friends.

The First World War forced the family to move to Zurich; after the war, they settled in Paris. Stuart Gilbert was a friend of Joyce for many years. He published James Joyce’s Ulysses: a Study in 1930, and published a collection of Joyce’s letters in 1957. He did not much like Lucia and described her, in her twenties, as “illiterate in three languages.” She knew four languages: German, French, English, and Triestine Italian. The last was the language that her family used at home, not just in Trieste but forever after. It was not, however, what people spoke in most of the places where she lived. This held her back in her education. Joyce saw no call to educate her – “He said it was enough if a woman could write a letter and carry an umbrella gracefully.”


The Joyces’ civil marriage in 1931, 26 years after they started living together, was a traumatic shock to Lucia. ”If I am a bastard,” Lucia screamed at Nora in one of their rows, ”who made me one?” Lucia’s relationship with her mother was fraught and there is little doubt that Nora favoured Giorgio, who was two years older than his sister. Lucia inherited strabismus from her mother but it was more noticeable in the daughter. The father seemed besotted with the daughter, but spoiled her and sang to her only when he could find the time. He worked all day and got blind drunk most evenings.

Joyce persuaded Lucia to take up book illustration—she drew lettrines, ornamental capitals—and he secretly gave publishers the money to pay her for illustrating his book, Pomes Pennyeach. The publishers lost her work. Joyce thought his daughter was special—“a fantastic being”. He grieved over her incessantly, but he was in the middle of writing Finnegans Wake, and he was going blind. He was desperate to keep her at home but Nora, who bore the burden of caring for Lucia and who was the target of her fury—insisted that she be put away. When Lucia was twenty-eight, the Joyces put her in an asylum in Ivry, outside Paris and she never lived on the outside again. She changed hospitals a few times, but her condition remained the same. She was quiet for the most part, though periodically she would break windows and attack people.

In 1935, three-quarters of Joyce’s income was going to Lucia’s care. When the Germans invaded France, in 1940, and the family had to flee to Switzerland, Joyce made a vain effort to arrange for Lucia to go with them. A month after the family arrived in Zurich, he died of a perforated ulcer. After Joyce’s death, Nora and Giorgio abandoned Lucia, and Harriet Weaver, Joyce’s patron, became her guardian. In 1951, after Nora’s death, Lucia was moved for the last time, to St. Andrew’s, in Northampton, England. In the 1950s, drugs replaced the straitjacket and she was calm and tractable. She might have lived outside an institution, had there been anywhere for her to go. She died in 1982.


Hermione Lee described Shloss’s prose style as “fervid glop”. Sean O’Hagan wrote in the London Observer that Shloss’s claims for Lucia were “ambitious and at times extravagantly overreaching”. In The Independent, Brian Dillon wrote: “Lucia sometimes fails to bear the strain of this athletic academicism”.

There is some justice in the criticism. There is a daunting amount of speculation, surmise and unconvincingly supported supposition in the book. Shloss can overwrite in her attempt to prove that Lucia was an artist of high calibre and a muse who contributed to her father’s work. Nonetheless, I found the book moving for the picture it paints of a pretty, talented woman succumbing to a life of incarceration. Shloss gives us a sympathetic new angle on James Joyce – the great writer who subordinated everyone around him to the service of his art was also a desperate, doting father who died trying to save the daughter he would never admit was insane.



Flann O’Brien and Catholicism Part 3

strabane festival


Here I continue dealing with the references to Catholicism in O’Brien’s work.

Slattery’s Sago Saga



In this short novella, Crawford MacPherson has a totalitarian philanthropic mission. She has seen the ill effects of Irish emigration on the United States:

“they bred and multiplied and infested the whole continent, saturating it with crime, drunkenness, illegal corn liquor, bank robbery, murder, prostitution, syphilis, mob rule, crooked politics and Roman Catholic Popery…Adultery, salacious dancing, blackmail, drug peddling, pimping, organising brothels, consorting with niggers and getting absolution for all their crimes from Roman Catholic priests…”

Her solution is to take over all Irish agricultural land and ban potatoes. The Irish dietary need for starch will be sated by sago.

The Hard Life

“Dedicated to Graham Greene, whose own forms of gloom I admire”.

hard life

This novel is set in the Dublin of 1890. Mr Collopy has become the guardian of his nephews, Finbarr (the narrator) and Manus. The boys attend prison-like schools run by the Christian Brothers in a regime of excessive corporal punishment. The Synge Street school attended by Finbarr was O’Brien’s own school.

Mr Collopy enjoys his drinking and talking sessions with the Jesuit, Father Fahrt, but is not averse to expressing strong opinions about the failings of the Catholic Church.  “Oh the grand old Catholic church has always had great praise for sufferers… you won’t find Quakers or swaddlers coming out with any of this guff about suffering. They treat their employees right, they have proper accommodation for them, they know how to make plenty of money honestly and they are as holy – every man-jack of them – as any blooming Jesuit or the Pope of Rome himself”.

“A humble Jesuit would be like a dog without a tail or a woman without a knickers on her”. The Dominicans of the Spanish Inquisition were “blood-stained bowsies”. “The holy friars in Spain propagated the true faith by driving red hot nails into the backs of unfortunate Jewmen…Scalding their testicles with boiling water…And ramming barbed wire or something of the kind up where-you-know. And all AMDG [to the greater glory of God], to use your own motto, Father”. “If that’s the Catholic Church for you, is it any wonder there was a reformation? Three cheers for Martin Luther!”

Is Manus another version of de Selby who appears in footnotes in The Third Policeman and in person in The Dalkey Archive? He perverts science to quackery and exploits it for commercial gain.

Mr Collopy at times appears to be a proto-feminist. One of those human institutions about which to be pessimistic is the Dublin Metropolitan Corporation. Collopy is rallying the Dublin Corporation to provide public lavatories for women, and trying to persuade Father Fahrt to enlist the support of the church. They do eventually get an audience with the Pope, who becomes angry that Collopy is involving him in such a matter and in a mixture of Italian and Latin condemns him to hell.

According to Anthony Cronin, O’Brien was hopeful that the book would be banned. I have written elsewhere about how O’Brien was a post-modernist avant la lettre, even being an inspiration for the TV series Lost.  As Keith Hopper has written:  “One consequence of Irish censorship culture was that modernism almost passed Ireland by. By 1946, over 1,700 titles were proscribed on the grounds of ‘indecency’, including most of the leading international modernists. But if modernism was disallowed, postmodernism crept in through the back door, virtually unnoticed. At the start of the Second World War a trinity of Irish novels emerged which, in retrospect, mark the moment when high modernism began to drift, almost imperceptibly, into postmodernism: Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939), Beckett’s Murphy (1938), and Flann O’Brien’s At Swim-Two-Birds (1939). However, unlike Joyce or Beckett, Flann O’Brien never lived abroad. As a writer whose exile was interior, his textual strategies of silence, exile and punning are, by necessity, of a different order. In this respect, O’Brien’s particular brand of postmodernism must be read in two interrelated contexts: in an aesthetic domain (a challenge to the conceits of high modernism); and an ethical domain (a resistance to the nativist hegemony of Irish censorship culture).”

Being banned was a mark of distinction for an Irish author and O’Brien had not established himself. Often books were banned for alleged sexual obscenity (sex does not seem to have been O’Brien’s thing) but he gleefully expected that “the mere name of Father Kurt Fahrt SJ will justify the thunderclap”. He planned to challenge the ban in the high court and seek damages. He advised the publishers to make the book low-key in order to fool the “Reverend Spivs”. “Our bread and butter depends on being one jump ahead of the other crowd”.

There is an assumption in the book, says Cronin, “that the Catholic church is a very important institution, that it occupies a place of primary importance in the world, and that its existence affects life and one’s outlook on life in enormously important ways”.

The Pope’s angry reaction Mr Collopy’s campaign for a better lot for women makes the church seem, says Cronin, “ male, hierarchical and dismissive”. “A victory for Mr Collopy in the book’s terms would mean an acceptance of women as equal human beings and of their bodily needs as something of great importance. The Pope, supreme patriarch of a patriarchal world, draws back from such an acceptance. ‘Bona mulier fons gratiae’ he says. ‘Attamen ipsae in parvularum rerum suarum occupationibus verrentur. Nos de tantulis rebus consulere non decet’”. (A good woman is a fountain of grace. But it is themselves whom they should busy about their private little affairs. It is not seemly to consult us on such matters).

The Dalkey Archive

This book reworks material from the unpublished The Third Policeman and features De Selby and the constabulary’s atomic theory. The main character Mick Shaughnessy and his friend Hackett accidentally meet De Selby (philosopher, savant, mad scientist, quack?).

picador dalkey

De Selby said: “I accepted as fact the story of the awesome encounter between God and the rebel Lucifer. But I was undecided for many years as to the outcome of that encounter. I had little to corroborate the revelation that God had triumphed and banished Lucifer to hell forever. For if- I repeat if – the decision had gone the other way and God had been vanquished, who but Lucifer would be certain to put about the other and opposite story?”

De Selby arranges an encounter with St Augustine in a cave  under the sea. The Bishop of Hippo speaks with a Dublin accent and claims his father was Irish – “a proper gobshite”. He has little time for St Francis Xavier and St Ignatius Loyola. Xavier consorted with Buddhist monkeys and Loyola’s “saintliness was next to bedliness” and he led an army of “merchandisers”.

“Mick reminded himself that while he observed reasonably well the rules of the Church, he had never found himself much in rapport in the human scene with any priest. In the confessional he had often found their queries naïve , stupid, occasionally impertinent; and the feeling that they meant well and were doing their best was merely an additional exasperation. He was complete enough in himself, he thought: educated, tolerant, contemptuous of open vice or licentious language but ever careful to show charity to those who in weakness had strayed”.

When Mick meets James Joyce in Skerries, Joyce complains: “Even here, where my identity is quite unknown, I’m regarded as a humbug, a holy Mary Ann, just because I go to daily Mass. If there’s one thing scarce in Catholic Ireland, it is Christian charity”.

Mick decides he wants to give up the secular life and join the priesthood. “He said it with great sorrow, and God forgive him for saying it at all, but the great majority of Catholic curates he had met were ignorant men, possibly schooled in the mechanics of ordinary theology but quite unacquainted with the arts, not familiar with the great classical writers in Latin and Greek, immersed in a swamp of tastelessness. Still he supposed they could be discerned as the foot soldiers of the Christian army, not to be examined individually too minutely”.

Joyce himself wants to become a Jesuit: “I must be candid here, and careful. You might say that I have more than one good motive for wishing to become a Jesuit Father. I wish to reform, first the society, and then through the Society the church. Error has crept in…corrupt beliefs…certain shameless superstitions…rash presumptions which have no sanction within the word of the Scriptures…Straightforward attention to the word of God …will confound all Satanic quibble”.

Joyce dismisses the concept of the Holy Ghost and thereby the Holy Trinity: “The Holy Ghost was not officially invented until the Council of Constantinople in 381… The Father and Son were meticulously defined at the council of Nicaea, and the Holy Spirit hardly mentioned. Augustine was a severe burden on the early Church and Tertullian split it wide open. He insisted that the Holy Spirit was derived from the Father and the Son – quoque, you know. The Eastern Church would have nothing to do with such a doctrinal aberration. Schism!”

Cronin finds fault with The Dalkey Archive because the author “clearly  expected his audience to gasp with shock before becoming overwhelmed with mirth at such schoolboy jokes as the questions de Selby puts to St Augustine in the cave and the saint’s answers”. “There is a clear impression that the author was trying to have it both ways, to affirm his orthodoxy while at the same time making an uneasy suggestion that a different view of things might be nearer the truth of existence as he sees it”.


O’Brien’s sense of his own Catholicism is defined to an extent by his relationship with Joyce. O’Brien asserts that Joyce “palliates the sense of doom that is the heritage of the Irish Catholic” with humour.

O’Brien’s contemporaries at UCD were divided between those who had a stake in an independent Ireland and those who did not. “Only the intellectuals  felt uncomfortable, for it was they who were most irked by the Catholic triumphalism, the pious philistinism, the Puritan morality and the peasant or petit bourgeois outlook of the new state. But they were in an ambiguous position, though one which had its compensations, for in the first place they were themselves inheritors of whatever privileges were going, and in the second they found it almost impossible to break with formal Catholicism, either in belief or practice.

The hold of Catholicism in Ireland in those years was partly parental. To disavow the faith, whether in public or private, was a gesture so extreme that most people who had doubts or reservations suppressed them because it would cause their parents too much suffering, might even ‘break their hearts’. True, Joyce had managed the business a quarter of a century or so before, but the extreme song and dance he had made of it showed how difficult he found it; and he had, after all, to refuse to kneel at his mother’s bedside and  to go into exile.

As Cronin puts it “self-interest, self deception, hypocrisy and fraud bulk large in all human affairs; and however much Myles na gCopaleen  might devote himself to exposing them, his basic assumption is that they will continue to do so; nor does he ever show any gleam of admiration or enthusiasm for the countervailing modes of human behaviour, be they gallant, generous, visionary or, come to that, rational”.

Claude Cockburn, in his 1973 introduction to an edition of O’Brien’s Stories and Plays, referred  to “two qualities of conditions which affect Irish writers not, by any means, exclusively, but with rare and particular intensity. Or you could call them two aspects of the same force. Fear of imminent hell or heaven, the sense of doom in the Irish Catholic heritage, can be seen as oppressive, constrictive”.

Cockburn suggests that the Catholic heritage was not necessarily restrictive for O’Brien. “Recognised and understood, the most rigid limitations can be transformed into productive conditions of achievement”. It is unfortunate that O’Brien’s achievements have been posthumous and that he did not transform these limitations into greater success or personal happiness in his lifetime. Nevertheless, O’Brien’s best writing is a cathartic expression of the fallen nature of humanity which bring pleasure for his readers.




James Joyce and Dublin

This article appeared in the October 2013 edition of Echelon magazine.


What would James Joyce think of Dublin in 2013? Since Joyce left, Dublin has experienced grinding poverty, revolution, boom and bust.

Can it be reconstructed?

joyce and son

James Joyce’s Ulysses, published in 1922, covers eighteen hours in Dublin on June 16, 1904. Joyce left Dublin in 1907 and only returned three times – once to establish Ireland’s first cinema, another time to import tweed. He boasted to a friend that if the city were to disappear from the earth, his book could be used to reconstruct it.  He designed the novel from information contained in Thom’s Directory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland – Dublin Edition 1904. He plotted his characters’ movements using maps, a compass, a setsquare and a timepiece. He quizzed visitors from Ireland about current life in Dublin.

Joyce chose June 16, 1904, as it was the day of his first date with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle. Bloomsday is now a Dublin tourist attraction each year on June 16, when people follow the peregrinations of Leopold Bloom around Dublin from and to his home at No 7 Eccles Street. Joyce gives mythic significance to the wanderings of one modest man of Hungarian Jewish origin by using the framework of Homer’s Odyssey.

nora barnacle

Joyce joked that his book would keep the professors busy for a century. How many thousands of academics prosper by analysing and explaining Joyce’s works? Many who have never read a word he wrote make a living off him. Ireland and Dublin shunned the man for decades but now he is a money-spinner. Even Tesco sells Joyce merchandise.

Joyce wrote one play, Exiles, which came after Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and before Ulysses. Richard Rowan in Exiles says: “If Ireland is to become a new Ireland she must first become European”. Europe served Ireland well but now he nation is in thrall to the EU and people are protesting in the streets against austerity. Last year, 89,000 people became exiles.

I witnessed, over many decades, grinding poverty in Ireland. I visited Dublin in the 1980s on business and it had improved since my previous visit in the 1960s, when the city had the dank and depressed air of a Dubliners story. Decent accommodation and good food was available by the 80s. Despite relative prosperity, there was a big problem with heroin addiction among the young and criminal networks were thriving. Two men on a motorcycle shot investigative journalist, Victoria Guerin, six times, when her writing exposed gangster John Gilligan and his IRA associates.

The Nighttown episode in Ulysses is set in Dublin’s red light district – The Monto. The area around Montgomery Street had been a fashionable one until the mid 19th century when the licentious soldiery took over and hordes of women flocked in to service them. At one time more than 2,000 prostitutes, among them Julia Hooligan, May Oblong and Mrs Lawless plied their trade and the Monto became the worst slum in Europe. .Joyce himself lost his virginity when he was 14 to a prostitute against a tree. When the municipality wanted to clear the area of vice it planned to cut down the trees. Senator Oliver St John Gogarty (the model for both Buck Mulligan and Blazes Boylan in Ulysses) argued that the trees were more sinned against than sinning. The church and state closed down organised prostitution in the 1920s, but during Ireland’s economic boom demand increased. By the late 1990s, brothels had returned and made their owners rich. Ruhama, an organization opposed to prostitution, reported to the government in 2006 claiming that over 200 women were trafficked into Ireland. The police launched Operation Quest in 2003, followed by Operation Hotel in 2005, with the aim of tackling the trafficking of females from Eastern Europe.


In the early 90s, prosperity seemed permanent. I stayed in a hotel in Parnell Square (named after Ireland’s Lost Leader who features in Dubliners and Portrait as well as in Ulysses). The hotel was not far from Eccles Street but Bloom’s house no longer stands. By the time I went to live in Ireland in 1998, the bling years had arrived. There was once a rumour that Jack Nicholson was buying a Dublin Georgian house for six million euro. We found Ireland to be a vibrant modern European nation with a high proportion of young people. The influence of the church was waning. It was fashionable to be Irish. Dublin jackeen Paul Hewson (better known as Bono) advised presidents and popes about poverty.

However, corruption Irish-style was in evidence. This involved crony relationships between property developers, planning authorities and local and national politicians up to prime minister level. Why were developers building so many houses when the population was less than four million? Today, there are empty houses all over the country but homelessness is out of control.

Many of Dublin’s sex workers also have drug problems. There are an estimated 20,000 heroin addicts in Ireland, with 10,000 men and women on a methadone programme. Last year, a charity for drug abusers served 76,500 hot meals to homeless people in Dublin. Ireland ranks fourth highest in the EU in terms of death by suicide among young people.

Today, in downturn Dublin, Joyce is a money-making opportunity.  The leisure industry organises walking tours of the pubs in Ulysses. Most of the pubs where the characters in Dubliners and Ulysses drank are still there –O’Neill’s in Suffolk Street, The Oval in Middle Abbey Street, Mulligan’s in Poolbeg Street. The Bailey on Duke Street used to display the front door of Bloom’s home at No. 7 Eccles Street. An establishment called the Bailey Bar and Tavern still operates but Joyce would not recognise it.

Davy Byrne’s pub, also on Duke Street, is the setting for the Lestrygonians episode of Ulysses. The pub is still there and offers a Bloomsday Special of gorgonzola and Burgundy, Bloom’s snack in the book.  Bloom crossed the river to the Ormond Hotel, where the delightful Misses Kennedy and Douce were behind the bar. The Ormond is now closed and owned by 49-year-old Malaysian entrepreneur and QPR boss, Tony Fernandes, who is  GCEO of AirAsia (described as the Michael O’Leary of Asia). Dubliners are objecting to a proposal to replace the Ormond with a six-storey hotel.

The Irish state has finally accepted Joyce as a national treasure. His image appeared on the ten Punt banknote from 1993 to 1999. On April 11 2013, ten thousand ten euro commemorative coins went on sale at the Irish Central Bank for 46 euros each. The coin features Joyce’s face and a quotation. Unfortunately, the quotation is incorrect which increased the value to 160 euro.

Dublin’s tourism industry relies heavily on its built heritage. There are 9000 structures in Dublin listed for protection. There are currently seven Architectural Conservation Areas in Dublin city. The designation of Dublin as a UNESCO City of Literature was a formal recognition of its international literary significance, as is the placing of Dublin on the tentative World Heritage Site list in 2010.

A recent comprehensive assessment of traffic in Dublin city centre by the National Transport Authority portrays a shambles of congestion and cluttered footpaths that would have impeded the wanderings of Bloom. The NTA recommends pedestrianised areas. The draft Dublin City Development 2011 – 2017 proposes the development of the city based on a long-term vision that Dublin by 2030 will be one of the most sustainable, dynamic and resourceful city regions in Europe.

bankers protest


The economic crisis may be part of the reason that Dublin now respects Joyce. There is a reaction against the crass consumerism of the Celtic Tiger years. Dubliners are trying to reclaim their city from the fraudsters. Before the boom, the cobblestoned Temple Bar quarter was a derelict maze. The 1991 commissioning of the architects’ co-operative, Group 91, to help refurbish Temple Bar contributed to the city’s previous cultural and economic renaissance. Mammon failed Dublin. Culture is what Dublin now has instead of religion. Optimists believe the city’s stagnation – coupled with its relatively small scale – is opening the door for creativity. Culture is the only thing that can save it.

Joyce can help.

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