James Joyce and Samuel Beckett’s favourite pub in Dublin

Posted On
Posted By admin

“Oh, Ireland, my first and only love, Where Christ and Caesar are hand in glove!” the great James Joyce declared. Has any man ever loved his homeland as much as he did? He considered the landscape over and over in every piece of writing. It makes sense, though, that Ireland is richer than most countries in literature and art, giving the world some of the brightest talents it has ever known. Even tighter than a wide nation, some of the best minds even gathered in the same pub.

Some cities have absolutely desecrated their literary history. Once beloved watering holes where writers would cosy up in the corner with their notepads are now Wetherspoons, or especially in the case of London, have been overrun by suits ruining the meditative, creative peace with rants about their finance jobs or loud football reactions. It’s sadly hard nowadays to find a preserved place where writers of the past worked, and it’s even harder for writers of today to work there too. 

In Dublin, however, they’ve kept a protective arm around these spots. As the city has been written into literary, street by street over and over again, the places their penmen would frequent are rightfully treated with respect.

One of the finest is Kennedys, a pub that has been gathering history since 1850. Sitting a stone’s throw away from Trinity College, the literary pack of the city would be found there working on early drafts of texts that would become great novels. Or if they weren’t working on that, they were just working. Before he was the literary legend, Oscar Wilde used to stock groceries in the building.

It was also a favourite pub of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. For Joyce, the central spot was a perfect viewing post for writing about the city he loved. Dublin sits as a character in so many of his best works, tracking it in Ulysses or dropping in on various local faces in The Dubliners. “For myself, I always write about Dublin,” he said, “Because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world.”

It was in the pub that Joyce and Beckett would strike up their close working relationship and mutual admiration. After looking up to the figure as a young writer, Beckett would find himself working as a research hand, supporting him on the start of a text that would become Finnegan’s Wake. They’d both be found in Kennedys, discussing ideas.

Nowadays, Kennedys seems to have managed the impossible by being a spot that literary tourists must visit, but it also remains a place where creatives and writers flock to feel the ghosts of these legends lingering over their own work. Being a calm pub for a Guinness, a whiskey and some hours of inspired work during the week, it then comes alive on Saturday night for a weekly live music night. 

Sticking true to its distinctly Irish roots and pride in its history, it’s easy to imagine Joyce and Beckett tapping their toes to the folk tunes as they take notes on some stranger, immortalising the drunken figures in literature forever.

[embedded content]

Related Topics

Related Post