James Connolly reading 'A day in the life of Jimmy Joyce'

My name is James Connolly. I write about a fella called Jimmy Joyce.

A day in the life of Jimmy Joyce

by James Connolly

After paying homage to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by way of watching or pretending to watch EastEnders on the TV set in the Ha'penny Bridge Inn - why any sane person should choose to watch the miseries of Dot Cotton and other assorted morose characters of this programme was beyond the comprehension of Jimmy Joyce.  ‘Perhaps this explains the rise of the suicide rates,’ thought Jimmy to himself. For anyone listening to EastEnders would be driven to suicide by its tortuous drivel. 

Jimmy and Leo exited onto the quays and continued their journey eastwards [footsteps]. 'The Ha'penny Bridge, Leo,' said Jimmy 'if a man has not crossed it at least once a day he cannot truly consider himself a Dubliner' [traffic noise]. So they crossed over the River Liffey, and back again, over that Halfpenny Bridge just to affirm their rights to be called citizens of the city of dreams.  'The Ha'penny Bridge was built in 1816 and as everyone knows it costs a ha'penny to cross it' said Jimmy [footsteps]. 'So, no royal name here,' said Leo.  'Perhaps not, but we can squeeze in good ole King George into the matter' said Jimmy.  'How so?' demanded Leo.  'Well Leo, take a ha'penny circa 1816 out of your pocket and look at it.  What do you see?' said Jimmy.  'Ah yeh sly bastard' said Leo, 'the king’s head.'  'Exactly' said Jim.  'So without the king's head in your pocket you will not be crossing the River Liffey on the said Ha'penny Bridge'. 

Jimmy and Leo passed down Aston Quay, named after a once Lord Mayor of Dublin, one Henry Aston, who was given land in this area in 1672.  He enclosed it and built the quay walls along here.  They crossed Westmoreland and D'Olier Street and on to Burgh Quay, built in 1808 and named after Amelia Burgh, wife of John Foster who was the last speaker of the Irish House of Commons.  Then on to George's Quay: 'Not that fella again' quipped Leo, and on to City Quay and then Sir Rogerson's Quay, built in 1713. The Alderman and former Lord Mayor and MP secured a land grant of 133 acres on the south strand.  He developed and quayed the area. 

They crossed over the lock gates leading on to the Grand Canal Docks and sat down a while.  The north side of the Grand Canal Docks is called Hanover Quay after the house of Hanover, the family name of King George's who were good German protestant stock.  They came over from Hanover in Germany to help keep the English monarchy nice and protestant.   The south quay of Grand Canal Dock is called Charlotte Dock named after the wife of King George the 3rd.  Grand Canal Dock was built between 1790 and 1796.   'Oh no,' cried Leo, 'I can't take it anymore'.  All the way down the quays, on King's Bridge, Victoria Quay, Victoria and Albert Bridge, Queen Charlotte Bridge, George's Quay, Wellington Quay.  Then you bring me into the pub and the Queen Vic and Albert Square is on the telly and now we sit on the Grand Canal Dock and here we have Hanover Quay and Charlotte Quay.  Is there no escapin' bleedin' British royalty in this God forsaken city?' said Leo.  'Worry not Leo’ said Jimmy.  'Let us take a stroll along the south Bull Wall.  That will blow all thoughts of royalty and empire out of your little minds.  Jim dared not mention to Leo that the South Bull Wall was of course a project of the British Empire.  A wooden construction was built extending 7,983 feet seawards commenced in 1717. The present wall was began in 1735 and completed in 1745. Poolbeg Lighthouse was designed by John Smith and built between 1761 and '68.  So it appears that the South Bull Wall is almost 270 years old [seabirds calling].   

Jim and Leo walked to the very end and looked seawards.  Jimmy Joyce thought of England as in his mind's eye he could almost make out the white cliffs of Dover.  He started humming to himself God save the Queen.  Leo looked at him and thought to himself, 'perhaps the cuckoo has really flown the nest this time.'  [Laughter and footsteps]


Recorded at Kevin Street Library Creative Writing Group, facilitated by Ora Ní hAonigh.
Sound effects by David McKeever

Thank-you for listening to the Dublin City Public Libraries and Archive Podcast. To hear more, please subscribe on iTunes or SoundCloud. You can also visit our website - dublincitypubliclibraries.ie and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Add new comment