Berkeley Street

Berkeley Street

In Brief

"Berkeley Road" and "Berkeley Street" (pronounced BARK-lee) are two short, connected streets at the west end of Eccles Street. The former runs south for a couple of blocks from the North Circular Road, going past the Mater Misericordiae hospital and Eccles. Angling left, it then becomes Berkeley Street, which runs southeast for half a dozen blocks until, crossing Blessington Street, it becomes Mountjoy Street. In Calypso "Quick warm sunlight came running from Berkeley road" to greet Bloom as he leaves Dorset Street and approaches his home. In Hades, a couple of hours later, the funeral carriage in which he is riding "turned into Berkeley Street" after proceeding up Blessington.

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The detail in Calypso about sunlight running from Berkeley Road to meet Bloom requires some explaining, since he is walking toward the road in a generally westerly direction, away from the sun rising in the east. Gifford offers a cogent explication: "As the cloud moves eastward on the prevailing westerly wind, sunlight moves along Eccles Street toward Bloom." The effect is similar to one at the beginning of Telemachus, where the Wicklow mountains are described as "awaking" because the sun rising in the east first illuminates their tops and then works down their flanks.

In Hades the funeral cortège travels north by northwest from Sandymount to Glasnevin. After crossing the river and moving up O'Connell Street to the Rotunda at Rutland (now Parnell) Square, it climbs "more slowly the hill of Rutland square" in a slightly more westerly direction, and, heading still more to the west, rolls "swiftly along Blessington Street." Then it turns right into Berkeley Street, where it encounters a lot of activity: "a streetorgan near the Basin sent over and after them a rollicking rattling song of the halls. . . .  The Mater Misericordiae. Eccles street. My house down there. Big place. . . . A divided drove of branded cattle passed the windows, lowing, slouching by on padded hoofs, whisking their tails slowly on their clotted bony croups. Outside them and through them ran raddled sheep bleating  their fear. . . . — Huuuh! the drover's voice cried, his switch sounding on their flanks. / Huuuh! out of that! . . . The carriage moved on through the drove."

The photograph reproduced here shows a scene in Berkeley Street that appears quite congested enough without the involvement of livestock. Bloom's idea of taking live animals out of the mix by running "a tramline from the parkgate to the quays" seems quite sensible.

JH 2017
Detail from 1898 map of Dublin and environs constructed for Thom's Almanac and Official Directory, held in the library of University College, Dublin, showing Berkeley Road (blue) and Berkeley Street (red). Source:
John J. Clarke, photograph of a funeral procession passing along Berkeley Street, as seen from Blessington Street, ca. 1897-1904. Source: