Green gem of the silver sea

Bloom hears "A sudden screech of laughter" from inside the Telegraph office and enters to find Ned Lambert reading aloud the Dan Dawson speech that he had tried unsuccessfully to read from his newspaper in the funeral carriage. The following section of Aeolus, in which he hears the first of many sentences from this speech in praise of Ireland's natural beauties, receives a fitting headline: "ERIN, GREEN GEM OF THE SILVER SEA." Commentators have identified many possible inspirations for this phrase, but no one has yet remarked on the political resonances that the image of a green gem carries in the text of Joyce's novel.

John Hunt 2023

The Kerry coast. Source:

Dan Sweeney portrait of Ina Coolbrith reproduced in her 1918 volume of poems, California. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

2007 Eric Jones photograph of Caernafon Bay in Wales. Source: Wikimedia Commons.