"Donnybrook," a southeastern district of Dublin, was a sedate suburb in Joyce's time, but it had become a byword for violent brawls from the annual fairs that were held there in earlier centuries, when it was an isolated village.

JH 2018

Scene on Donnybrook Road in 1927, in a photograph held in the National Library of Ireland. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Drawing of a "Fair Fight" by Samuel Lover, reproduced in Weston St. John Joyce's The Neighbourhood of Dublin, 2nd ed. (M. H. Gill & Son, 1921). Source: comeheretome.com.

Drawing of the Donnybrook Fair printed in an 1835 issue of the Dublin Penny Journal, by an unknown artist. (Shillelaghs are only slightly less conspicuous in this image.) Source: Wikimedia Commons.

"Donnybrook Fair," 1859 oil painting by Erkine Nichol. Source: comeheretome.

"Donnybrook Fair, 1782," watercolor by Francis Wheatley, held in the Yale Center for British Art. Source: Wikimedia Commons.