Help Small Pharma


Sweny’s, the chemist featured in Joyce’s Ulysses; proprietor PJ Murphy (right). Rent on the property has doubled recently

Sweny’s Pharmacy, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2

Kenji writes:

As you might already know, the interior of Sweny’s is 172 years old and preserved very well. That’s PJ (centre) greeting a visitor. The counter there is the very same as from James Joyce’s time. Nora and James would have walked on the same floorboard and touched the same furniture.

Last year, the landlord doubled our rent, probably in an attempt to sell the building at a premium. It was either his way or the highway, so we had to sign that new lease, but that left us with the problem of how to raise the €1,500 per month that is needed to keep our tenancy.

At the moment, we are paying the difference from our savings, but this is running dry pretty fast. After exploring different options, what is working well so far is our online fundraiser page (see below). Thank you.

Sweny’s Pharmacy (Patreon)

Thanks Emma

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24 thoughts on “Help Small Pharma

  1. Daisy Chainsaw

    Perhaps a partnership with Trinity and their student accomodation. Give a 10% price reduction for every student card holder, encourage the locals to use the small, independent pharmacy for prescriptions, rather than Boots etc. It’s a lovely building with an interesting history, but that’s not enough reason to give charity to a business.

    1. Mel

      I’m not sure it still operates as an actual pharmacy though.. I could be wrong. I think it just sells lemon soap and maybe books. Regular readings from Ulysses etc.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        I know it’s tiny, but possibly it could be extended and commercialised somewhat to have lotions and potions in the front and coffee and cake and readings in the back.Some of our finest cafes are no bigger. This would do really well as one.

        1. Mel

          I agree. It actually could be really successful, with a little imagination and run properly. It’s got character, a real place in literary history with a worldwide following and in a great location.
          Maybe they should ask yer man Francis Brennan & his brother to take a look? It would be perfect for their programme.
          PS: I studied Ulysses in college. While it was tricky at first I began to love it. I had a great teacher in Luca Crispi

  2. Eoin

    Is the tourist in pic #2 trying to figure out if it’s a pharmacy or a shrine to Joyce?

    Fair play to them for trying to survive against the chains, where you can get free blood pressure tests and this week in CarePlus, free johnnies. How do they compete in a city setting with the likes of Boots and Tesco? Thanks for posting though. I will pay them a visit, but probably for the Joyce memorabilia and merchandise.

  3. Ian-O

    If that is the original shop fittings from Ulysses then perhaps we should protect that building and its fixtures and fittings?

    I’m on my 3rd (I think) attempt at Ulysses, started around 2017 and still not off the first chapter.

    One day I will finish it, I swear!

        1. Ian-O

          Thanks all, both might be better ideas than jumping straight in, aside from wanting to actually see what I am missing, its also to impress my Father in law as well. I managed to read all the works of Wilde no problem, so was sure I could handle Joyce, foolish me!

          1. millie st murderlark

            Reading it in college, I was told to buy a guide to read with it as otherwise it would just be incomprehensible gibberish.

            In fairness, they weren’t wrong. It’s only now I’m a bit older I’ve developed an actual appreciation for it. And I’ll second the audiobook comment. Made a huge difference.

    1. Cian

      “still not off the first chapter. “??

      I’m still not off the first sentence, although I’m on page 46.

        1. millie st murderlark

          Why is that bisted?

          You liked Ulysses before it was popular? We’re just a bunch of shallow bandwagoners, huh?

          1. millie st murderlark

            Doesn’t make it any less difficult to read to someone who doesn’t know what to expect of the text, or who has never read it before.

            First reading of it was far from enjoyable. But not as much of a headache of Finnegan’s Wake. That was awful and I’ve never attempted it since.

          2. bisted

            …I feel your pain..I’m just finishing my second full read through of Finnegans Wake…a bit obsessive, it’s taken almost 20years…

    1. bisted

      …maybe if he moves the laudanum and morphine…pharmacists have always been great ones for keeping up with the latest fad…

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