On the Saturday morning of the St Patrick’s weekend, we made our way into town to do the James Joyce literary walking tour. It’s run by the James Joyce centre which is based in a beautiful Georgian house on North Great Georges Street, which is only a five-minute walk from O’Connell Street in Dublin. The street where the centre is based, North Great Georges Street, is an excellent example of 18th-century architecture and the street itself is worth viewing.
For directions, click here. The James Joyce Centre has exhibitions and hosts events connected to Joyce and his work all year round.
The tour is run once a week at 11 am on Saturdays mornings in the Autumn and Winter and three times a week in the Spring and Summer. The tour costs €10 euros each and lasts 90 minutes. For the tour schedule, you can check out the James Joyce website here. The tour we did was based on Joyce’s short stories The Dubliners.
The tour is based on the north side of Dublin city centre and takes in the streets and buildings connected with Joyce’s life and the characters in The Dubliners short stories. In a way not much has changed since Joyce wrote The Dubliners, parts of the northside of the Liffey are still as gritty and ramshackled, as when Joyce wrote about it.
The tour guide was very knowledgeable and even though we hadn’t read any of Joyce’s work yet, the tour guide gave a background on the characters and events in the book and to the social history of Dublin at the time, which was really insightful. All I really knew about Joyce before the tour, was connected to the novel Ulysses and that the book is quite hard to read and the annual Bloomsday, where people dress up in Edwardian costume and do the Ulysses literary trail, roaming around Dublin for the day, which actually sounds like a lot of fun and I would be very tempted to do this year.
Images from James Joyce Literary tour
We found out a lot about Joyce’s life and I have a greater understanding now of why Joyce’s statue on North Earl Street is sometimes referred to as “The Prick with the Stick”. Joyce was a controversial figure in his time, he wrote stories that were critical and showed the grittier side to Dublin, that people did not like. The walking tour is well worth doing, even if you haven’t read any of his books, you won’t need to have a degree in English Literature, just an interest in Joyce and the social history of Ireland.