Douglas Hyde (1860-1949), known also as An Craoibhín Aoibhinn (the Sweet Little Branch or Pleasant Little Branch), was an important scholar of the Irish language who played a major part in the Irish Cultural Revival. His popular Love Songs of Connacht (1893) published Irish poems that he had collected in the West, with verse and prose translations into English. Haines misses Stephen's talk in the library because he has gone to buy a copy of Hyde's book. To add injury to insult, the novel marks Stephen's failure (so far) to distinguish himself as a poet by having him shape sounds"mouth to her mouth's kiss"that clearly derive from one of Hyde's lyrics.

Photograph of Douglas Hyde, ca. 1902. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The cover of Hyde's book, in an edition published by the Dun Emer Press with a preface by William Butler Yeats. Source: exhibits.library.villanova.edu.