Page 55. " Peter Parley's Tales about Greece and Rome "

This book for children was written by American writer Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1793-1860). Peter Parley is his pseudonym. 

Discover more here


Page 57. " Saint Ignatius de Loyola holding an open book and pointing to the words ad majorem dei gloriam in it "

Saint Ignatius de Loyola is the Spanish founder of the Jesuits. A knight who underwent a spiritual conversion, he was an important figure in the Counter-Reformation. 

Loyola's main principle became the Jesuit motto: Ad majorem Dei gloriam ("for the greater glory of God").

Page 58. " and he looked at the skull and at the rector's kind looking face. "
St. Jerome
Public DomainSt. Jerome - Credit: Albrecht Durer

 The skull often appears in paintings of saints or politicians during the Renaissance period (see Holbein's The Ambassadors) as a reminder of mortality. Here Joyce creates a nice clash between the two: the dead skull and the living face of the rector. 

Page 60. " three cheers for Conmee "

John Stephen Conmee was rector at Clongowes from 1885 to 1891. Joyce includes him in his novel as a bright figure, a person who helps Stephen when he is abusively punished by Father Dolan.

He might be the source of Stephen's name. Conmee also appears as a character in Ulysses, where he gets his own stream-of-consciousness at the opening of "The Wandering Rocks." He also briefly appears in the "Circe" chapter of the same book.

Page 62. " he hummed contentedly one of his favourite songs: O, Twine Me a Bower, or Blue Eyes and Golden Hair or The Groves of Blarney "

These are Uncle Charles' favourite tunes:

1. O, twine me a bower

2. Blue Eyes and Golden Hair

3. The Groves of Blarney

You can find more on the music in Joyce's books on this site.

Blarney Castle near Cork dates from the fifteenth century.

Blarney Castle
GNU Free Documentation LicenseBlarney Castle - Credit: Guilhem D

It is claimed that the association of "Blarney" with "empty flattery" derives from Queen Elizabeth I, who, while requesting an oath of loyalty to retain occupancy of land, received responses from Cormac Teige McCarthy, the Lord of Blarney promised loyalty to the Queen without "giving in". Elizabeth proclaimed that McCarthy was giving her "(a lot of) Blarney".

Page 64. " of Munster and of the legends of their own family "


Flag of Munster
GNU Free Documentation LicenseFlag of Munster - Credit: Thomas Gun

 Munster is the southernmost Irish province, covering 9,374 square miles. Its largest city is Cork. The area is famed for Irish traditional music and for its ancient castles and monasteries, making it a popular destination for tourists.

Page 64. " and he pored over a ragged translation of The Count of Monte Cristo. "
Alexandre Dumas, pere
Public DomainAlexandre Dumas, pere - Credit: Etienne Carjat

This famous adventure novel was written by Alexandre Dumas in 1844. In The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantès, a young sailor, is the victim of a plot that robs him of his position and his beloved, Mercedes. After escaping from the prison to which he has been condemned and discovering a large fortune hidden in an island cave, Dantès returns to France, disguising himself as the Count of Monte Cristo, determined to wreak vengeance on those who conspired against him. 


Page 69. " A vague dissatisfaction grew up within him as he looked on the quays and on the river and on the lowering skies and yet he continued to wander up and down day after day as if he really sought someone that eluded him. "

This quote marks with subtlety the beginning of Stephen's inner exile. Joyce felt that he could not have artistic freedom in Ireland, and went into self-imposed exile, eventually settling in Zurich. The theme of exile is therefore an important part of his work.

Page 70. " a spectral dusk was gathering upon the river. "

This is the River Liffey, a landmark of Dublin.

Liffey River
GNU Free Documentation LicenseLiffey River - Credit: Donaldytong
Page 71. " He was sitting in the midst of a children's party at Harold's Cross. "

Memorial Cross at Harold's Cross
Creative Commons AttributionMemorial Cross at Harold's Cross - Credit: Hohenloh
 Harold's Cross is a suburb in the south of Dublin, also mentioned in Ulysses.


Google Map


Page 72. " It was the last tram. The lank brown horses knew it "

The Dublin horse trams ran from 1872, ten years before Joyce's birth, until 1959, 18 years after his death.

Page 73. " To E- C- "

Stephen models his love letter on the writing of Lord Byron, who often had similar dedications at the beginning of his poems. "E--C--" is later discovered to be an 'Emma'.

Page 74. " gazed at his face for a long time in the mirror of her dressing-table. "

We assist Stephen's metamorphosis. He is not himself anymore, as his being contains another being, that of his loved one, and he wants to see if this can also be seen from the outside. His gesture is reminiscent of the story of Narcissus.

Page 75. " Mr. Dedalus screwed his glass into his eye "

The glass in question is a monocle:

Public DomainMonocle - Credit: Sobebunny