he eighth chapter of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” begins, “Pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch, a sugarsticky girl, shovelling scoopfuls of creams for a Christian brother.” Also begins the famous journey of the main character, Leopold Bloom, as he walks through the streets of Dublin.
Bloom begins on O’Connell Street, and so did a walking tour of Dublin.
O’Connell features, for one, a massive metal spire—a pointed steel giant that rose far above all the building around it.
The spire was built to replace Nelson’s Pillar, which was destroyed by an IRA bombing. Other evidence of past conflict also presents itself down O’Connell Street, as the stone of some buildings have been chipped away due to gunfire.
But, as the book describes, Bloom soon left O’Connell to stroll along Bachelor’s Walk. This street runs along the Liffey, the tranquil canal that separates North Dublin from the south.
Bridges cut across the Liffey at regular intervals. Some of these bridges, like O’Connell Bridge, serve for both vehicles and pedestrians, but others are restricted to pedestrians. One of these walkways runs parallel to O’Connell Bridge, and is as steely as the Spire.
It would have been a good place to sit and have lunch on the uncharacteristically sunny, Dublin day, providing a quaint seat to avoid bird poop and chewed up gum.
After venturing south, Bloom made his way down Westmoreland Street and into fancier areas of town.
In the book, Joyce writes obscurely, “He crossed Westmoreland Street when apostrophe S had plodded by.” College Street boasts, of course, the prestigious Trinity College with its “surly front.”
Inside Trinity, one can find an abundance of courtyards, bell towers and buildings hundreds of years old.
A prominent statue in Trinity is the curmudgeon, Provost Salmon, who opposed the admittance of women into the college. He now sits, slouched and perturbed in a stone chair, forever looking on the swells of women students who pass by him every day.
Past Trinity, Bloom also walked down Nassau and Grafton streets.
Grafton Street is the main shopping street in Dublin, and one is never short of street musicians or overpriced clothing when walking down it.
In nearby blocks, one can experience live jazz, rap, Irish folk, rock music, a dance show or a sand sculpture (usually in the shape of a stocky dog).
One could also walk by Brown Thomas, as Mr. Bloom did, which is one of the most well-renowned and lavish shops in Ireland.
Going down Nassau, Bloom, “priced the fieldglasses,” but one could take their pick of tweed shops around the current road construction that shows the rusty underbelly of Dublin’s public works.
By way of Nassau, Bloom took a turn onto Kildare Street.
Kildare has a bunch of obligatory tourist stops. The National Museum, Library, the Archeological Museum and Parliament dominate the street and subject it to an irrepressible, serious atmosphere.
Joyce wrote, “Before the huge high door of the Irish house of parliament a flock of pigeons flew.”
Instead of pigeons, you might just catch one of Parliament’s crooks making his way out of the back gate of the government building and into a taxi.
By this time, one could probably work up an appetite from so much walking.
During his walk, Bloom ate, “His strips of sandwich, fresh clean bread, with relish of disgust pungent mustard, the feety savour of green cheese. Sips of his wine soothed his palate.”
But if that doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, consider eating at K.C. Peaches. They dot Dublin and feature an array of foods with many vegetarian options.
Once filled up there, head back to Grafton Street for a scrumptious, frothy hot chocolate from Butler’s to finish the long day’s walk around Dublin.
EIC ready-Don’t ask me to explain what any of this means