Walking Araby

After basically giving up on trying to pinpoint the exact location of the Araby market, I decided that it would be interesting to get a first-hand experience of the boy's journey in the story. Using street view in Google Maps, I decided to walk the route from North Richmond St, turned onto N Circular Rd, onto Summerhill Parade, and finally onto Buckingham St. I know that my experience is a century removed from the boy's walk, but I was still struck by the streets of Dublin.

The first thing that surprised me is that the building in this neighborhood, even in modern times, are very small. Nothing is over 2 or 3 stories. I am used to big cities having tall buildings and narrow streets. Dublin, on the other hand, has short buildings and the streets are quite average-sized. However, the streets still felt incredibly claustrophobic. There are so many buildings packed together on a single street that you feel almost always like you are walking down an alley or corridor. The other surprising thing was the maze of streets you walk through. I am used to the grid system layout of Tulsa; it is simple and logical. Dublin is one jumbled mess. It is a labrynth. It seems like every hundred feet some side street branched off into another corridor. I felt trapped. It made me think how Joyce must have felt walking through these streets, using them even as inspiration for his works. There must have been such a unique atmosphere (especially back then when I'm sure the conditions of the streets were much, much worse). The streets of Dublin seem to be characters in and of themselves in Joyce's works, and I can certainly see why that is.

Comments

Remember to embed your map into the post here, or at least provide a link. I like this idea of the city as a character. So maybe your map can include points mentioned in "Araby" with Street View screenshots embedded in them, to bring the built environment of Dublin to life for your viewers. Could be an interesting way to read back onto the story.

I noticed the same thing about the short buildings when I was in Europe over the summer. Apparently old historic cities like Dublin or Paris, which are known for having a certain old world feel, are hesitant to build skyscrapers because then they will look just like America and lose out on tourism business. It presents an interesting housing and lack of space problem though.