Tag Archives: James Joyce


Usher’s Island, Dublin 8.

Irish actors protest against permission granted by An Bórd Pleanála for 15 Usher’s Island, the setting for James Joyce’s short story ‘The Dead’, to be turned into a 54-bed tourist hostel.

Katie O’Kelly writes:

The photos depicts Joycean characters being evicted from the famous house to make way for the tourist hostel. This is emblematic of how our communities are being pushed out of the city by developers, vulture funds and ever-increasing rent hikes, making the city unliveable for many.

The house is the setting for James Joyce’s famous short story ‘The Dead’, often acclaimed to be one of the greatest short stories ever written.

The house, originally owned by Joyce’s grand-aunts, is a site of international cultural and literary significance and will be a huge loss to the cultural landscape of Dublin.

Actors involved include Oscar-nominee Stephen Rea, who played Bloom in the acclaimed feature film ‘Bloom’ (2003), Rachael Dowling and Maria Hayden who played respectively Lily the maid and Miss O’Callaghan in the John Huston film adaptation ‘The Dead’ (1987), doyenne of Irish stage and film Marion O’Dwyer, actors and singers Sinead Murphy and Darina Gallagher of ‘Songs of Joyce’, writer and performer Donal O’Kelly ( Jimmy Joyced!), performance artist Osaro Azams of ‘Wake the Streets’ based on Finnegans Wake (MOLI), and actors Katie O’Kelly and Madi O’Carroll (Dubliners Women).


A letter from Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston, who played Gretta in her father’s film ‘The Dead’, was read out on the steps of the House…

To: Catherine Martin TD,
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media,
Leinster House,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.

Dear Minister Martin,

As you may be aware, An Bórd Pleanála has just granted permission for no. 15 Usher’s Island to be repurposed in to a 54-bed tourist hostel. This four storey Georgian house, while the same as others along the Dublin quays from the outside, is exceptional. It is exceptional because within its walls lies the setting for one of the greatest short stories ever set down on paper, James Joyce’s iconic ‘The Dead’.

The house was owned by Joyce’s great-aunts, the inspiration for the Morkan sisters who hold a party in the house on the Feast of the Epiphany in the story. Joyce himself visited the house on many occasions, and it has miraculously survived through the years intact, almost exactly as it was when he himself graced its rooms.

‘The Dead’ is internationally acclaimed as a work of literary genius. For a site of such major cultural significance to be at the mercy of private owners is heart-breaking. I am writing to implore you to take all measures possible as Minister for Arts and Culture to preserve this site from becoming, as Joyce himself put it, another ‘shade’, lost forever.

As a UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin is championed internationally as a city of literary significance, and every year tourists flock to see the streets and places where the great literary works were based. The cultural sites that still exist should be preserved for visitors to the city as well as for the citizens of that fair city themselves. The House of the Dead is part of the rich fabric of Dublin, and must be protected.

My father John Huston directed the film adaption of ‘The Dead’ in 1987, and it was nominated for several Academy Awards. The house on Usher’s Island is the setting for that ethereal story to unfold, a story that has captured the imagination of so many around the world. As Minister for the Arts you have the power to preserve a vital part of our literary and cultural heritage. I beseech you to do just that.

Kind regards,

Anjelica Huston

All pics by Ruth Medjber

James Joyce with Sylvia Beach, founder of Shakespeare & Co, who published Ulysses in 1922

This afternoon.

Via AP:

Shakespeare and Company, the iconic Paris bookstore, is appealing to readers for support after pandemic-linked losses and France’s spring coronavirus lockdown put the future of the Left Bank institution in doubt.

The English-language bookshop on the Seine River sent an email to customers last week to inform them that it was facing “hard times” and to encourage them to buy a book. Paris entered a fresh lockdown on Oct. 30 that saw all non-essential stores shuttered for the second time in seven months.

…Founded by Sylvia Beach in 1919, Shakespeare & Company became a creative hub for expatriate writers including Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and James Joyce.

Reflecting on Beach’s decision to publish “Ulysses,” Joyce’s groundbreaking novel of more than 700 pages, Whitman said: “No one else dared publish it in full…She became one of the smallest publishers of one of the biggest books of the century.”

Virus-hit Paris bookshop Shakespeare & Co appeals for help (AP)

When James Joyce Met Sylvia Beach (Literary Hub)

‘James Joyce Reluctant Groom’

Presented by Loopline Film in association with the Irish Cultural Centre Hammersmith, London United Kingdom.

Loopline writes;

The extraordinary story of how after living together for almost three decades James Joyce married Nora Barnacle in London on 4 July 1931.

Dublin-born poet Niall McDevitt (top) takes us on a London-based Bloomsday walk stopping at the houses of people who were closely connected with Joyce and his career.

A highlight is when Niall takes us to the house where James and Nora lived for the best part of a year on Camden Grove.

James and Nora’s children Giorgio and Lucia came to visit and so did paparazzi seeking out a good story

Directed, filmed and edited by Sé Merry Doyle and produced by Rosalind Scanlon

James Joyce reluctant Groom (Loopline)

Previously: Niall McDevitt: To The Statue Of Lord Cromwell

This morning.

Forty Foot, Sandycove, County Dublin.

Niall Burgess, Secretary General at the Department of Foreign Affairs, begins Bloomsday in scrotum-tightening manner.

In fairness.


James Joyce with his grandson Stephen in 1934

Terence Killeeen reflects the predominant view of the late Stephen Joyce as a tricky, awkward custodian of the James Joyce estate. I have a different take on Mr Joyce.

In 1999, while resident in the Middle East, I wrote an article for the London Independent describing the work of my friend and translator, Mohammed Darweesh, entitled “The Last Joyce Scholar of Baghdad”.

Mohammed had recently completed a PhD on the challenge of translating James Joyce’s work. He loved Joyce and Beckett but had few to share his literary passions with in Saddam’s Iraq.

Stephen Joyce got in touch and offered to pay for Mohammed to travel from sanctions-bound Baghdad to London to attend a Joyce symposium in the UK – a considerable challenge and an enormous expense. He was as good as his word and Mohammed travelled to London and on to Dublin in 2000.

It was a rare joyful experience for Mohammed, as his country and his life were subsequently torn apart by invasion, conflict, murder and pointless wars.

Richard Downes,
Co Dublin.

Remembering Stephen Joyce (The Irish Times letters page)

Stephen Joyce, last direct descendant of James Joyce, dies aged 87 (The Guardian)

Pic: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Planning application notice for 15, Usher’s Island, Dublin 8

During this ongoing debate about the repatriation of James Joyce’s body, the developers Fergus McCabe and Brian Stynes have submitted an application to convert 15 Usher’s Island – the house in which Joyce’s story, The Dead, is set – into a 56-room hostel replete with a cafe.

If Dublin and the Dublin City Council truly want to honour Joyce, their energies would be better spent on devising a better plan for this house, rather than wasting time on the misguided business of repatriation (as has been well documented in these pages).

Joyce conceived and wrote The Dead in his self-imposed exile at a point when he began to miss his abandoned city.

As a result, it is less caustic than the other stories in Dubliners and, while still critical, shows a sincere and abiding appreciation of “Irish hospitality”.

This underlying affection is one of many reasons why this story is often considered the greatest short story in the English language.

On the other hand, McCabe and Stynes’s application exemplifies the very reasons why Joyce left Ireland, “the old sow that eats her farrow”.

Dr Sam Slote,
Associate Professor,
School of English,
Trinity College Dublin,
Dublin 2.


A better plan for the house of The Dead (Irish Times letters page)

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