Page 29. " The deep low collar and the Eton jacket made him feel queer and oldish "

The Eton jacket is similar to a tailcoat but cut off just below the waist, worn as the school uniform of boys under 5'4" at Eton College until 1976, and at many other English schools, particularly choir schools.

Page 31. " Woe be to the man by whom the scandal cometh! "

This quote from the Bible (Matthew 18:7) is applied to Parnell by Mrs. Riordan as he married a divorced woman, Katharine O'Shea, with whom he had relations before her divorce. As divorce, not to mention adultery, is considered a sin by the Roman Catholic Church, this scandal damaged Parnell's standing among Irish Catholics.

Page 32. " Lord Leitrim's coachman, yes, said Mr. Dedalus. "

William Sydney Clements, 3rd Earl of Leitrim (1806-1878) was an unpopular Anglo-Irish nobleman who was murdered, along with his coachman and his clerk, whilst driving to his residence in Milford in April 1878. His funeral sparked scenes of great unrest in Dublin.

Page 35. " Tower of Ivory, they used to say, House of Gold "

These are two expressions Catholics use to refer to the Blessed Virgin.

Page 35. " That was ivory: a cold white thing. "

Ivory is a type of dentine, the organic material which forms teeth and tusks. Ivory from elephant tusks has long been prized as a decorative material, a fact which has greatly threatened the survival of elephants as a species, as they have been hunted and killed for their tusks.

Decorated ivory
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDecorated ivory - Credit: E235
Page 38. " Didn't they denounce the fenian movement from the pulpit and in the confession box? "

The Fenian Movement was an organisation of different groups all dedicated to the establishment of an Irish Republic. The name comes from the Fianna who, in ancient Ireland, were bands of young warriors who could be called upon in times of conflict.

Page 38. " And didn't they dishonour the ashes of Terence Bellew MacManus? "

 

Irish patriots
Public DomainIrish patriots

Terence Bellew MacManus participated in the Young Irelander Rebellion, after which he was convicted and transported out of the country. He eventually escaped and settled in the United States. After his death, his body was taken back to Ireland for burial.

Page 41. " for cricket was coming "

Cricket
Creative Commons AttributionCricket - Credit: Elsie esq.
 Cricket is a traditional English summer game, first played in the 16th century in the South of England.

 

 

Page 43. " Balbus was building a wall. "

In Ancient Rome there are two Balbuses; one is Lucius Cornelius Balbus Major, a consul, and the other his nephew Lucius Cornelius Balbus Minor. We cannot say for sure to which Balbus Joyce is referring.

Arguably, it is just a tongue twister on the sounds b and w, a diction exercise.

Page 49. " They could all have become high-up people in the world if they had not become Jesuits. "

The Jesuits, or Society of Jesus, are a Catholic religious order of men dedicated to evangelical work, promoting the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits were formed by St Ignatius of Loyola in 1539 as part of the Counter-Reformation. This saw the Catholic Church attempting to repair the damage done by the Reformation, during which Protestant and other breakaway Churches were formed, hugely damaging the power and reputation of the Vatican.

Page 49. " Any boys want flogging here, Father Arnall? "

Flogging is the act of beating or whipping (from the Latin flagellum, "whip"). Typically, flogging is imposed on an unwilling subject as a punishment; however, it can also be submitted to willingly, or performed on oneself, in religious contexts. Corporal punishment in Irish schools was banned in 1982, and made illegal in 1996.