The buck

Mulligan receives a nickname in the novel's opening sentence, but several paragraphs later he mentions that his actual given name is Malachi. He follows this up by remarking that Malachi Mulligan sounds "Tripping and sunny like the buck himself." The phrasing here is intriguing: why should Mulligan speak of himself as the buck? An answer can be found in Ireland's Georgian past, when swashbuckling young dudes sometimes called bucks roamed the streets of Dublin, anticipating in their well-dressed, aristocratic way the American Wild West.

JH 2022

An 18th century fencer dueling in front of the gates of Trinity College, Dublin, with other men seen dueling with pistols in the background, from the book Irish Swordsmanship: Fencing and Dueling in Eighteenth Century Ireland (2017). Source: outofthiscentury.wordpress.com.

John Willoughby Cole, the 2nd Earl of Enniskillen, allegedly a member of the Cherokee Club in the late 18th century and later an Irish peer and Member of Parliament.  Source:www.facebook.com

Cover of David Ryan's book on Thomas Whaley.  Source: www.theirishstory.com.