The Heart of Dublin

This week we read Dubliners, a collection of short stories written by James Joyce that chronicles the lives of many colorful characters in the city. In addition to reading about these characters and the city we were also able to look at a map of every named location throughout the book. With each of the fifteen different stories taking place within the city, I was surprised to see how many named locations were in other places around the world with locations as far west as the United States, as far south as Chile, and as far east as Australia all being named. Many of these locations are described as places that characters have visited or are originally from, detailing how diverse the inhabitants of the city are. This is an important component for Joyce to have included in his novel as it portrays Dublin as a unique blend of cultures from all over the world.

O’Connell Bridge over the River Liffey leading into O’Connell Street

Within the city itself most of the story locations are clustered on the south side of the River Liffey and along O’Connell Street (formerly Sackville Street before 1924) to the north of the river with a few other locations sparsely spread throughout the city. The River Liffey is a major landmark of Dublin that runs right through the middle from west-east while O’Connell street is another major landmark that is the widest and perhaps main street of the city. The location of this cluster is particularly interesting because in a zoomed out map of the city this appears to be the exact center, the Heart of Dublin. With the port of Dublin directly to the east and rest of the city surrounding it on the north, west, and south like a crescent moon it makes sense that most of the locations in a novel titled Dubliners occur in a central part of the city. It is also impressive how many different locations Joyce was able to detail in his novel, demonstrating his impressive knowledge and familiarity with the city.


  1. I enjoyed your observation of the world of “Dubliners” being so global! For a book that’s so deeply connected to one city (as helpfully pointed out by its title), it can’t help but be influenced by the outside world. This reminds me a little of “Dracula,” and how even though a majority of the novel took place in London, the plot had its roots in Transylvania. However, I agree with your further observation of Joyce’s “impressive knowledge and familiarity with the city”–it certainly almost feels like a love letter to Dublin, whereas Stoker’s approach to London in “Dracula” feels more like those blockbusters that just happen to take place in a big city.

  2. I love this observation! I think it’s so interesting how you were able to connect the book with the rich culture and history of Dublin, as well as associate it with other parts of the globe. It’s so fascinating how we, as readers, are able to gain an in-depth knowledge of the people even when some of the stories are describing the more mundane aspects of life. Because Joyce makes connections outside of the city center, do you think he is trying to make a comment on the universality of the thoughts and feelings described in the collection?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *