The Pro Cathedral at Marlborough Street features several times in the works of James Joyce. Stephen Hero and Dubliners are amongst the works in which it features. An excellent edition of Dubliners is edited by John Wyse Jackson and Bernard McGinley - it is packed with contemporary illustrations of Dublin and also features indispensable interpretations of Joyce's text. James Joyce's Dubliners, Sinclair-Stevenson, 1995 (paperback), ISBN 1-85619-780-8, 12.99. [It is currently out of print but may be available through Amazon's Out of print search (link on home page

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Where are the city's walls (part 2)?

A relatively recent discovery during building construction in the 1990s was the remains of Isolde's Tower. Isolde, according to the (Nordic) legend, was the Irish princess who was supposed to wed England's King Mark, but who drank love potion and subsequently fell in love with the knight Tristan who was delivering her to England (culture vultures will know the story through Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde) . This was not a good move with his employer and realising this he drank a death potion. The Tower does exist though, and is both one of Dublin's hidden treasures and a hidden disgrace to be disguised so. It may be found on Exchange Street Lower [map section L-49] which links Fishamble Street with Essex Street West. The remains of the tower are hidden behind an iron grill work, about midway on the river side of the street (very near Dublin's Viking Adventure). The developers were supposed to leave good access to the Tower but the gate is always locked. Well worth a look, considering it is so near to the Handel site and Christ Church Cathedral.

If you are returning to the city centre you might like to walk back via the city quays. When you reach the quays, turn east [left] and walk towards the first bridge, Grattan Bridge. Cross to the north side of the river and continue east along the new boardwalk [see photo]. When you reach the new Millennium bridge [see photo], look towards the other side of the quays at water level. You should see a large grating [about 2 x 1.5 metres] in the river wall - this is where Dublin's hidden River Poddle meets the Liffey [see photo]. The Poddle has been culverted in recent centuries as Dublin grew (there are many cities with similar underground rivers). The source of the river is in a south-westerly direction [diagonal right as you look from the Quay], flowing under Dublin Castle and very near St Patrick's Cathedral It has strong historical connections with Dublin; St Patrick's is reputed to have baptised converts in it [see the well stone at the west end of St Patrick's] but, perhaps more interestingly, it was part of the 'great escape' from Dublin castle in the late sixteenth century. Following four years of internment by the English and one unsuccessful escape, the rebel leader Red Hugh O'Donnell managed to escape from Dublin castle through a privy (medieval toilet - essentially a hole in the floor) and followed the sewer system which lead to the underground river Poddle. With the O'Neill brothers, the trio headed south for the Wicklow hills and were the only successful escapees from Dublin castle in its known history.

 

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