The James Joyce Museum is situated just 8 miles south of Dublin on the coast in Sandycove Harbour near Dún Laoghaire. It is located in one of the about fifty Martello towers along the Irish coastline, originally built as a defense against invasion by Napoleon in the 19th century.
Joyce spent six nights here in 1904 as a guest of his university friend Oliver St. John Gogarty, who had leased it from the British War office. He left following an incident in which Gogarty fired a gun in his direction.
The first chapter of his masterpiece Ulysses takes place the morning after this incident. The fictional character Stephen Dedalus lives in the tower with medical student Malachi "Buck" Mulligan, whom Joyce based on Gogarty. The rooms and views are instantly recognizable from the book and the living space is decorated to resemble Joyce's descriptions.
The museum's collection includes some of Joyce's personal possessions, letters and photographs. Also on display are first and rare editions of Ulysses, as well as items associated with the time period.
Ulysses famously chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, June 16th 1904. This date is now commemorated as Bloomsday in Dublin and worldwide to celebrate James Joyce and his most famous novel. The Museum organizes special readings and performances for this event.
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