George's church

George's church

In Brief

St. George's is a Protestant church a little southeast of the Blooms' house on Eccles Street, just across Dorset Street. When Bloom crosses "to the bright side" of Eccles in Calypso, he can see the sun "nearing the steeple of George's church." At the end of the chapter he hears the bells in the steeple winding up to sound the time: "A creak and a dark whirr in the air high up. The bells of George's church. They tolled the hour: loud dark iron." (Determining "the hour" from the tolling of the bells is a small enigma whose solution is "Quarter to," or 8:45.) The bells keep ringing in Circe, Ithaca, and Penelope.

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As various Dubliners prepare to execute Bloom in Circe, "The bells of George's church toll slowly, loud dark iron," repeating not only the lovely description of their sound in Calypso but also the nursery-rhyme sense that Bloom heard in them: "Heigho! Heigho!" Later, when Bloom is apotheosized as Lord Mayor, monarch, and Savior, "Joybells ring in Christ church, Saint Patrick's, George's and gay Malahide."

Ithaca marks the approach of Stephen and Bloom to Bloom's house by noting that "they crossed both the circus before George's church"—the semicircular plaza before the church's facade. As the two men bid each other adieu midway through the episode, and as Molly lies in bed in Penelope, the church's bells sound again, announcing the times as, respectively, 1:30 and 2:00 AM.

John Hunt 2014
St. George's in the 1950s, seen from the perspective of Bloom's front door, looking southeast across Dorset Street. Source: William York Tyndall, The Joyce Country.
Detail of Bartholomew's Plan of Dublin, 1900. St. George's Church lies to the right of Dorset Street, Eccles Street to the left. Source: David Pierce, James Joyce's Ireland.