After your visit to the James Joyce Centre, maybe there’s still a bit more to learn about one of Ireland’s most famous authors. Why not pay a visit to the seaside suburb of Sandycove and to the James Joyce Museum at the Martello Tower?
The Martello Tower (or James Joyce Tower), in Sandycove, certainly has its place in literary history. This is the setting for the beginning of James Joyce’s world acclaimed novel, “Ulysses”. Avid Joycean fans will see the startling resemblance between the tower gun platform and the living room here at the museum and in the opening chapter of Ulysses. Unlike number 35 North Great Georges Street (home of the James Joyce Centre), James Joyce actually stayed here, briefly in 1904.
In 1962, the Martello Tower in Sandycove was opened as a museum dedicated to the life and works of the great man himself.
It’s certainly all about location, location, location with this museum. It’s only 8 miles from the capital and 1 mile from Dun Laoghaire on the coast road. Built on a cliff overlooking the sea, there’s one hell of a view from the gun platform.
As with the James Joyce Centre, this museum contains a tidy collection of personal possessions belonging to James Joyce. Objects on view include letters and photographs, some of which would have been given to James Joyce by his friends, Samuel Beckett, Maria Jolas, Sylvia Beach and Paul Ruggiero. First and rare editions of Joyce’s work can be seen here as well, the most notable among them the Henri Matisse illustrated edition of Ulysses. There’s no doubt about it a visit to the James Joyce Museum will compliment your visit to the James Joyce Centre and vice versa.
What is a Martello Tower?
Typical to the countries of the British Empire in the 19th century, these were a defence fort, usually manned by one officer and 15 to 25 soldiers. These forts stood about 40 feet high and had 2 floors. Due to its rotund shape and thick walls, it was pretty resilient to cannon fire. For extra defence some Martello Towers were surrounded by a moat. These towers were well used during the 19th century but eventually became obsolete due to the advancement in rifled artillery. There are still quite a few of these towers around today, and more often than not they are preserved as historic monuments.
There is an admission fee.
Group Admission Prices:
April to September: Monday to Saturday: 10am-1pm, 2pm-5pm.
Sunday & Public Holidays: 2pm-6pm.
During other months the museum is open by prior arrangement.
The 16th of June each year is a special day for Joycean fans. This is Bloomsday – all the events in Ulysses take place on this date. The museum will be open for longer to accommodate readings and celebrations for the occasion.
How to get here
Sandycove is located 8 miles south of Dublin city centre, on the coast.
You can take the DART to Sandycove Station, bus number 59 from Dun Laoghaire, bus 7 & 7A from Dublin city centre to Glenageary Road Lower – near the corner with Georges St., Dun Laoghaire (walk past Sandycove DART station, turn left to seafront and right towards the Joyce Tower. It’s about a 15-minute walk.