In Brief

When Bloom thinks of Martha making supper for Jesus in her home, he pictures her carrying well water in a "jar on her head" and imagines that it would be "stonecold like the hole in the wall at Ashtown." Ashtown is a suburb on the northwest edge of Dublin, a mile or two west of the Glasnevin cemetery and just north of the Phoenix Park. On Blackhorse Avenue, which follows the course of the park's stone wall on the suburb's southern border, sits a long and narrow pub called Hole in the Wall. There was, and still is, a hand-pump next to the pub where people can help themselves to well water.

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The building began life as a coach house in 1610, and became a pub later in the 17th century. Its name derives from the fact that for many years British soldiers who were stationed in (and confined to) Phoenix Park would get beers from the pub through a hole in the park wall. Bloom may or may not have visited the pub. His focus in Lotus Eaters is on the "lovely cool water" he remembers getting from the pump, perhaps when attending horse races in Phoenix Park. He thinks, "Must carry a paper goblet next time I go to the trottingmatches," presumably so he can carry some water back into the park. The pub is not far from the Ashtown Gate on the north side of the park.

JH 2022
  Photograph of the pub on its website, with the hole in the wall visible behind white bars at the left edge. Source:
Robert French photograph from the National Library of Ireland's Lawrence Photograph Collection, date unknown, showing the Blackhorse Tavern (an earlier name), the hand pump at left, and the hole in the wall. Source:
  The Ashtown Gate, built ca. 1830. Source: