dublin

Map of Maria's route in James Joyce's "Clay"

In Joyce's short story, "Clay," Maria goes on a journey from the laundry (a home/recovery center for women) where she works in the kitchen to visit her friends, the Donnellys. Interestingly, Maria's route is very nearly the inverse of the route taken by the boy in "Araby." Assuming I have the approximate locations correct, Maria's journey begins and ends within a half mile of the boy's starting and ending points. The only really major difference is that Maria goes north on her trip and the boy goes south. Both characters are very excited about their journey, greatly build it up, and then are disappointed in the end.

The Faces of Dublin

I have to say, I've been quite captivated by my wandering through the streets of Dublin. I've been pretty shocked by the juxtaposition of old and new. The picture below is what the boy would have most likely seen as he walked down Buckingham St towards the station:

 

This is Connolly Station. The building looks like it hasn't been altered too much, so I assume that this is what the boy would have seen also:

 

 

It's really cool seeing some of these buildings and streets and getting the feeling of walking through them in person. I can only imagine what character these faces take on at night. I bet that the streets of Dublin could be quite eerie (or at least to me) in the dark. If only Street View had a night feature...

 

 

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.

Araby Neighborhood Map

One thing I noticed while I was in Dublin this summer is that everything is incredibly compact--it really doesn't cover that large of an area. If this was the state of the city in 2014, I bet it was even more compact in Joyce's time. The neighborhood in Araby is no different from the rest of the city. Many of the main buildings that would have been important to families living on North Richmond Street were very short distances away from their homes. Though Joyce never explicity mentions a church in Araby it's a fair assumption that the people mentioned are practicing Catholics. After looking around on Google Maps for a bit, it seems likely that they would have been in the parish of St. Agatha. It's only 0.3 miles from the Araby house, and construction was completed on the church in 1908, making it a viable church for the people in the story. The same goes for St. Vincent's Girls School, the school probably attended by Mangan's sister. Since the boy goes to a school that is specifically for boys, I assumed that there had to be a Catholic girls school nearby. St. Vincent's is, approximately 0.25 miles from the Araby House. Adding further credence to my guess is the fact that a convent is attached to St. Vincent's, and Mangan's sister specifically mentions that she has a retreat at her convent during the weekend of Araby.

Between school, church, and playing in the streets, the children in Araby probably did not spend much time more than a half mile from their homes. This makes the boy's venture to the bazaar all the more notable. It is over 3 miles from his house--a true quest for someone who rarely gets more than a mile from home. 

Mapping Araby

I mapped the pathway that the boy takes to get to the Araby bazaar.  Using details from the text as well as my own research to find more specific locations, I mapped out the trip that the protagonist makes going to the bazaar.  Each segment of his journey is colored differently to represent the walking, tram ride, train ride and final walk to the bazaar.  Mapping the route of this story was a really fun experience, getting to play around with google maps with multiple trial-and-error moments to learn how to use the map best.