The 4 Bedroom Joyce House

In honour of Bloomsday, June the 16th, we want to impart to you, Reader, some interesting information about renowned Irish writer James Joyce – one of our prolific inspirations for Maydenhayes, the 4 bedroom Joyce House.

James Joyce

Why is it called Bloomsday?

“Bloom” refers to the central character of Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses. “Bloom’s Day” – the Day of Leopold Bloom.

Why is it held on the 16th of June? 

The 16th of June is the day Ulysses is set, and refers to the 16th of June 1904, when James Joyce and his future wife Nora Barnacle went on their first date.


View our delightful 4 Bedroom Joyce House


Lesser-known facts about James Joyce you might find intriguing: 

Joyce’s daughter Lucia was diagnosed Schizophrenic by prominent psychologist Carl Jung. After reading Ulysses, Jung declared James was schizophrenic as well.

He could have been Dr. James Joyce – after graduating UCD in 1902, he travelled to Paris to study medicine, but dropped out.

Some of James Joyce’s college friends from UCD would later become prominent figures in Irish history, in particular Tom Kettle, Frances Sheehy-Skeffington, and Oliver St. John Gogarty.

Joyce was an accomplished tenor and won the bronze medal at the Feis Ceoil in 1904.

With the help of his Italian financial backers, James Joyce opened Ireland’s first cinema in December 1909 called Cinematograph Volta on 45 Mary Street. James dropped out of the enterprise after 7 months. The cinema was never hugely profitable and closed in 1948. You’ll find a Penneys department store there today.

His eyesight got so bad that at one stage he was forced to write on large sheets of paper in red crayon.

Joyce and his wife Nora exchanged many explicit love-letters while James was visiting Dublin, as Nora feared James may become “distracted” by the younger courtesans. One of these “erotic letters” from James to Nora sold at Sotheby’s in 2004 for a record £240,800.

He was afraid of dogs (Cynophobia) after being attacked by a dog at age 5. He was also afraid of thunder and lightning (Astraphobia) since his superstitious aunt described storms to a young and impressionable Joyce as “God’s wrath”.

The Irish Naval Service names an off-shore patrol vessel after him, LE James Joyce

Short biography of James Joyce:
The Joyce

4 Bed 3 Bath House the Joyce in MaydenhayesThe Joyce

James Joyce was born in 1882 in 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, the eldest child to John Stanislaus Joyce and May Jane (May) Murray.  He attended O’Connell School, and then joined the Jesuit School Clongowes Wood College which he had to leave in 1892 when his father could no longer afford the fees. John Joyce was declared bankrupt in Stubbs Gazette in 1893, but managed to secure a place for 13 year old James in the distinguished Belvedere College at a reduced cost. James completed his secondary education and went on to study English, French and Italian in UCD. After university he moved to Paris, but returned home when his mother was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently passed.

In 1904 James met Nora Barnacle, and they began what would be a life-long devoted relationship. That same year James and Nora left Ireland and moved to Zurich. They would never again live full-time in Ireland. Together, they had 2 children – Lucia and George. They spent many years first in Zurich, then 10 years in Trieste, Italy, before settling in Paris for 20 years. They moved back to Zurich again while the Second World War raged, but James would not live to see the conclusion of the war.

His first published book, Dubliners, is a collection of 15 short stories of Dublin life which is still popular to this day. “When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart

Ulysses, based  on Homer’s epic the Odyssey, was completed in Paris and published in 1922. After its publication, the US dubbed the content “obscene” and promptly ordered the Post Office to confiscate issues of the magazine that had published Joyce’s work. Fines were imposed against the editors, leading to a censorship battle. This negative publicity only served to hype up the novel and increase sales.  He didn’t write another word of prose for over a year, but then began his second masterpiece “Finnegan’s Wake”.

James’s health, hampered by his intermittent bouts with alcoholism and occasional financial mis-management, declined as he aged. In particular he had many surgeries for his eyes, rendering him near-blind. He resorted to wearing an eye-patch for years. James died on the 11th of January 1941 following surgery for a perforated ulcer.

I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday, or some previous day” – James Joyce

Notable Works:


A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man



Finnegans Wake


The 4 Bedroom Heaney House

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney was born on 13th April 1939 in Co Derry in Northern Ireland, one of 9 children born to Margaret and Patrick Heaney.

Seamus Heaney

When he was 12 he won a scholarship to St. Columb’s College boarding school in Derry, and at 18 he travelled to Belfast to study English Language and Literature at Queen’s University. He then trained as a teacher in St. Joseph’s Teacher Training College. After working for a time as a guest lecturer in the University of California at Berkley, Heaney returned home to Ireland in 1972, settled in Wicklow and began writing full-time as well as giving readings of his work throughout Ireland, the UK and the US. He would later become a visiting Professor at Harvard University and received a tenure position, becoming Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory.

While on placement to St Thomas’s Secondary School in Belfast during his teacher training, he met his mentor writer Michael Mc Laverty, who assisted him in publishing his first work in 1962, and his first major volume Death of a Naturalist was published in 1966. Every reader who studied English at an Irish secondary school will recall 2 poems in particular; you may have learned them by heart if your English Teacher had their way:

Extract from Mid-Term Break

“I sat all morning in the college sick bay

Counting bells knelling classes to a close

At two o’clock my neighbours drove me home”

Heaney wrote this poem for his younger brother Christopher, who died as a result of a car accident when he was 4.

Extract from Digging

“The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap

Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge

Through living roots awaken in my head

But I’ve no spade to follow men like them


Between my finger and my thumb

The squat pen rests

I’ll dig with that”

Heaney has affirmed that all of his poems generate from biographical sources, giving us an insight into his childhood and adult life. His poems often reflect his political leanings and “Irishness” – although Heaney was born in Northern Ireland, he always identified himself as Irish. He has received a litany of awards during his illustrious career, including the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature.

4 Bed 3 Bath A-Rated Luxury Home

He was elected Saoi of Aosdana (literal meaning “wise one” – historically the title of the head of a bardic school) in 1997, which is the highest honour bestowed by Aosdána, a state-supported association of Irish creative artists.

Seamus Heaney died on the 30th August 2013 in Blackrock in Co. Dublin and he is buried in his home village of Bellaghy. The day after his death, Heaney was honoured with a 3-minute applause by 81,000 supporters at an All-Ireland football match in recognition of his enormous contribution to Irish culture.

5 Interesting Facts about Seamus Heaney:

  1. According to the BBC, at one time Heaney’s books accounted for two-thirds of the sales of living poets in the UK.
  2. His last words “Noli Timere”: Latin for “Don’t be afraid” were texted to his wife minutes before his death. Heaney often used Latin in his writing as a shorthand caption.
  3. Heaney was a fan of American rapper Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers. In 2003 he quoted: “He has created a sense of what is possible. He has sent a voltage around a generation. He has done this not just through his subversive attitude but also his verbal energy.”
  4. Former President Bill Clinton visited him in hospital after Heaney had suffered a stroke in 2006. Clinton was in Ireland for the Ryder Cup Golf Competition, and took the time to drop into the Donegal hospital where Heaney was convalescing. He also visited the wards and chatted amiably to the staff and patients.
  5. Heaney turned down the position of Laureateship of the United Kingdom, becoming one of 4 poets in 4 centuries to decline – Thomas Gray, Samuel Rogers, and Walter Scott all historically refused the post. The Poet Laureate is appointed by the current Monarch of the British Throne and is expected to write prose for significant national occasions.