Monday, January 6, 2014

Centenary of publication of "Dubliners"

This year marks the centenary of the publication of Dubliners, a collection of short stories by James Joyce.  The closing story of Dubliners, 'The Dead' takes place a century ago at a house party on the quays in Dublin on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany and the last night of Christmas. The James Hardiman Library is currently hosting an exhibition in the foyer of the Hardiman Buildings to mark the occasion.

The much-loved story, which was made into a film by John Huston starring his daughter Anjelica and the late Donal McCann, mainly takes place at number 15 Usher's Island, where Kate and Julia Morkan hold their annual dinner party on a snowy night.

Gabriel Conroy and his wife Greta are among the guests who enjoy the company, dancing and music. When, as she is about to leave, Greta hears the folksong 'The Lass of Aughrim' sung plaintively by another guest, she remembers the young man in Galway who once loved her and sang to her on another snowy night.

Back in their hotel later that evening Gabriel looks out the window at the snow falling and realises his marriage is not all he had imagined it to be.

Michael ‘Sonny’ Bodkin was the inspiration for Michael Furey in “The Dead”. His family lived at number 2 Prospect Hill in Galway where his family had a shop. He was a clerk in Galway Gas Company and a student at University College Galway. He contracted tuberculosis and died on the 11 February 1900, and was buried in Rahoon Cemetery. For more on this and other Galway links with the story see Peadar O’Dowd, ‘James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’ and its Galway Connections’, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, 51 (1999), 189-193.

The James Hardiman Library and NUI Galway holds a number of collections of interest to those researching “The Dead”. It holds the archives of the director John Huston in relation to the making of his highly-acclaimed film adaptation of the short story. The collection consists of legal documents, scripts and some production material relating to the work of John Huston, as well as some material relating to other members of his family. The bulk of the material relates to the production of his film The Dead, an adaptation of James Joyce's short story to film. There is also some material relating to his grandmother Adelia, his mother Rhea and his son Tony. There are 13 boxes of material, in a variety of formats including some artefacts. The collection is in good physical condition. The descriptive list of the entire collection is available at and an online exhibition is available at .

Other collections with a strong Joyce connection include ‘Papers relating to the Will of Annie Barnacle’ The library also holds a range of Joyce’s published worked, including a rare edition of Pomes Pennyeach, which includes the poem “Rain over Rahoon”.


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