Boland's bread

In Brief

Although Bloom ventures out of his house for only a brief single-purpose shopping trip in Calypso, the chapter mentions a large number of shops and businesses scattered about eastern Dublin. With the notable exception of Bloom's destination in this chapter, the pork butcher's shop, all of them (indeed, all the businesses in the novel) were actual establishments. Viewed on a map, they constitute a kind of Shopper's Guide to the more commercial eastern half of Dublin.

Read More

As Bloom walks down the sunny side of Eccles Street "in happy warmth," he sees or thinks of "Boland's breadvan" delivering warm freshly baked loaves of bread. The largest bakery in Dublin in 1904, Boland's had a large fleet of vans to distribute its products to shops, restaurants, and houses throughout the city. The Boland family lived on Capel Street, which starts across the river from Temple Bar and runs north. They built their first bakery at 134-136 Capel. As the business expanded it opened new facilities, including a large flour mill, silos, and warehouses on the Grand Canal Quay near Ringsend, and ornately appointed retail stores at various locations. (The vans, soon afterward equipped with gasoline engines, continued motoring about the capital for most of the 20th century. In the 1970s Boland's merged with Jacobs Biscuits Ltd., the firm whose biscuit tin the Citizen throws at Bloom in Cyclops, to form Irish Biscuits Ltd.)

Passing by O'Rourke's pub at the east end of Eccles Street (and Cassidy's liquor store across the street), Bloom turns right onto Dorset Street. Before leaving the house he has rejected the idea of buying "a mutton kidney at Buckley's" in favor of "a pork kidney at Dlugacz's." Both shops are on Dorset Street Upper, Buckley's at number 48 and Dlugacz perhaps at 55A (the actual butcher at that address was named Michael Brunton). As he is standing in Dlugacz's shop, the girl in front of him orders "a pound and a half of Denny's sausages," which came from Limerick. Buying meat on Dorset Street Upper is a frequent trek for Bloom; in Penelope Molly thinks, "Im sick of that everlasting butchers meat from Buckleys."

If Bloom had turned left onto Dorset Street Lower (moving northeast, away from the center of town) he would have come to two other businesses mentioned in Calypso. "Hanlon's milkman," who has delivered the morning's milk in an anonymous urban equivalent of the old woman's personable visit to the tower in Telemachus, probably works for S. Hanlon, a dairyman at number 26. And "M'Auley's down there" (toward the North Circular Road from where Bloom is standing on O'Rourke's corner) is Thomas M'Auley, grocer and wine merchant at number 39. Bloom thinks that M'Auley's location is "n.g." (i.e., no good) because it is too far north: O'Rourke's is "just the end of the city traffic."

As Bloom walks back home along Dorset Street Upper reading an ad for a Palestinian farm, he thinks of "Silverpowdered olivetrees. Quiet long days: pruning, ripening. Olives are packed in jars, eh? I have a few left from Andrews." According to the 1904 Thom's directory, Andrews & Co. were tea and coffee dealers, wine and spirit merchants, and Italian warehousers at 19-22 Dame Street, in the heart of central Dublin on the south side of the river, just south of Temple Bar. They were a place to find exotic delicacies. In Circe Bloom thinks, "Try truffles at Andrews."

Several other businesses pop up from the southeastern part of the city. The "high grade ha"(t) that Bloom takes off a peg on his hallstand comes from "Plasto's," owned by hatmaker John Plasto, at 1 Great Brunswick (now Pearse) Street, south of the river several blocks from Sackville (now O'Connell) Street. The funeral procession passes it in Hades, and Sirens glimpses Blazes Boylan "wearing a straw hat very dressy, bought of John Plasto of number one Great Brunswick street, hatter."

Bloom also thinks of an argument he had with Milly "in the XL Cafe" at 86 Grafton Street. Grafton is a fashionable shopping street southwest of Trinity College. Two blocks east of Grafton lies Dawson Street, where Adolphe Drago, hairdresser and wigmaker, had one of two "Drago's" shops. In Lestrygonians Bloom sees a dye-maker's van parked in front. (The other shop was at 36 Henry Street, north of the river near Sackville Street.) And, finally, Bloom thinks of a performance of Ponchielli's dance of the hours by "May's band," which Gifford notes was maintained and supplied by the music sellers May & Co. at 130 St. Stephen's Green West.

Bloom also thinks in Calypso of the Capel Street library where he must renew a book he has checked out, and of a nearby music business at 14 Capel Street run by a man named Kearney, his "guarantor." He remembers visiting Hengler's circus, which performed at the Rotunda on Parnell Square, at the north end of Sackville Street. And he contemplates visiting the Tara Street baths, north of Trinity College on the way to the Custom House.

JH 2017
Schematic map of Dublin with arrows added to show Dorset Street Upper (dark blue), Dorset Street Lower (red), Dame Street (orange), Great Brunswick Street (purple), Grafton Street (brown), St. Stephen's Green West (grey), Dawson Street (black), Henry Street (pink), Capel Street (green), Tara Street (aqua), and the Rotunda (yellow). Source: John Henry Raleigh, The Chronicle of Leopold and Molly Bloom.
Photograph of horsedrawn bread van, date unknown. Source: localwiki.org.
Ad inviting customers lacking telephones to mail in a postcard requesting home delivery. Source: localwiki.org.
Plasto's on Great Brunswick Street in 1900, next to the Sir Philip Crampton memorial. Source: www.pinterest.com.
Advertisement for Plasto's hats, date unknown. Source: ulyssespages.blogspot.com.