Harbourmouth

In Brief

From the "parapet" on the top of the tower in Telemachus, Stephen looks northwest to where a ship is leaving "the harbourmouth of Kingstown." Kingstown, today restored to its Irish name of Dún Laoghaire (Dunleary), lies several miles southeast of Dublin very near Sandycove, the rocky point where Mulligan's tower is located. In Nestor, Armstrong refers to "Kingstown pier," one of two seawalls that form the artificial harbor adjacent to the town.

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In the second decade of the 19th century work began on creating a harbor at the coastal town of Dún Laoghaire by erecting two immense walls called the East and West Piers. The town was later renamed Kingstown to honor an 1821 visit by King William IV in his yacht. The western pier is nearly a mile long, and together the two walls enclose an area of about 250 acres, with water depths from 15 to 27 feet. It is one of the world's best manmade harbors.

When Stephen asks Armstrong what he knows about Pyrrhus, the boy can only think of a silly pun: "Pyrrhus, sir? Pyrrhus, a pier." The heavy use of the East Pier by people enjoying themselves, in 1904 as today, poses quite a contrast to the dismal story of Pyrrhus. Armstrong indeed does not "know anything about Pyrrhus," and has other things on his mind.

JH 2016
Low aerial photograph of Dun Laoghaire harbor from the north, looking away from Dublin. Sandycove and Dalkey are visible toward the upper left corner. Source: www.dlharbour.ie.
The East Pier at Dún Laoghaire. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Late 19th century postcard showing the harborwalls at Kingstown. Source: Wikimedia Commons.