Crampton Court

New space-time. Section 9 of Wandering Rocks is as confusing as its predecessor, possibly more so. It takes place just across the river in the heart of Dublin, north of City Hall and east of Parliament Street. Four men are seen talking in an unnamed building about an unidentified invention. Two of them, Lenehan and M'Coy, then leave via "Crampton court," a narrow alley which itself is unnamed on most maps and probably unknown to many Dubliners. Lenehan says that he is bound for the Ormond Hotel to meet Boylan––presumably a short walk through the north arm of the alley, down Parliament Street, and across the Grattan Bridge. But instead he goes south, then east, then north, then east again and north again, and finally west, on a circuitous route defined by two pedestrian alleys, five streets, and several businesses that no longer exist. Time too has its wrinkles, and no fewer than four interpolations from other sections of the chapter conspire to increase a reader's disorientation.

John Hunt 2023

Detail of a map by Ian Gunn showing St. Mary's Abbey (C), the open courtyard of Crampton Court (D), City Hall (1), the Ormond Hotel (11), the Empire music hall (5), the Dolphin Hotel (4), the shop of Marcus Tertius Moses (9), and the shop of J. J. O'Neill (10). Source: Gunn and Hart, James Joyce's Dublin.

Essex Street entrance to Crampton Court, with street sign identifying it.

  Flora Mitchell's 1950s watercolor of the Crampton Court doors at the back of the theater on Dame Street. Source:

Dame Street entrance to Crampton Court. Source:

The path walked by Lenehan and M'Coy in Wandering Rocks, as charted by Ian Gunn in a map that differs slightly from the one published in James Joyce's Dublin. Source:

  William York Tindall's 1950s photograph of the approach to Merchants' Arch from Temple Bar, with street sign identifying it. Source: The Joyce Country.

William York Tindall's 1950s photograph of the metal bridge as seen from across Wellington Quay. Source: The Joyce Country.

Detail of 1900 Bartholomew map with added arrows showing the Liffey bridges passed by the viceregal cavalcade: King's, Queen Victoria, Queen's, Whitworth, Richmond, and Grattan. Source: Pierce, James Joyce's Ireland.