Hades opens with a funeral cortège heading to "the cemetery." Nearly halfway through the chapter, "The high railings of Prospect" are seen through the carriage windows, and at the very midpoint "the gates" are first mentioned. The coffin is borne through them and the mourners follow. The second half of the chapter takes place in Prospect Cemetery, a place with rich historical significance for Irish Catholics. It is located on "Finglas Road" in the near northwest suburb of Glasnevin.
The first photograph shows the "high railings" and,
in front of them, "the curbstone" on Finglas Road
against which the "felly" (the
metal rim of a wheel) of the carriage scrapes, as
well as "the gates" and the Hiberno-Romanesque "mortuary
chapel" in which Father Coffey gives Dignam the
J. J. McCarthy, Ireland's leading architect of Catholic
churches in the mid-19th century, designed both the gates and
the chapel, which were constructed in the 1870s. The chapel is
a handsome building, but Bloom takes no interest in the
architecture, thinking only, "Chilly place this," and, "Looks
full up of bad gas. Must be an infernal lot of bad gas round
The construction of the Glasnevin Cemetery, as it has come to
be called, addressed a crying need. The draconian Penal Laws
of the 18th century had outlawed Catholic cemeteries and
public performances of Catholic religious rites. Catholics
were forced to bury their dead in Protestant cemeteries with
heavily redacted versions of the funeral mass. When even these
truncated ceremonies seemed threatened after a Protestant
sexton inveighed against one in 1823, Daniel O'Connell agitated for
the establishment of a cemetery where people of all
denominations could be buried with full religious dignity.
The new facility opened in 1832, and generations of heroic
Irish nationalists have since been buried there: O'Connell
himself, Charles Stewart Parnell, Arthur Griffith, Maud Gonne, Michael Collins,
James Larkin, Jennie Wyse
Power, and many more. Quoting from p. 321 of D. A.
Chart's The Story of Dublin (1907), Gifford observes
that the cemetery is the "open air Parthenon or Westminster
Abbey of Catholic and Nationalist Ireland" (104). Hades pays
attention to "the chief's grave" (that of Parnell) and
to the "lofty cone" erected
over the grave of O'Connell.
The chapter also glances at "the cardinal's mausoleum,"
a monument erected in the memory of Edward MacCabe, Archbishop
of Dublin from 1879 until his death in 1885. The Vatican made
him a cardinal in 1882. Gifford says of MacCabe that "From an
Irish point of view he was a 'townsman,' with little interest
in land reform or Home Rule, the two central political issues
of his time."A prone sculpture of the cardinal, tended at the
head and feet by four ministering angels, tops the sarcophagus
within the monument.
As Bloom stands beside Dignam's grave, he thinks of "Mine
over there towards Finglas, the plot I bought. Mamma,
poor mamma, and little Rudy." He will be buried next to his
mother and his son, then, far from his father's grave in
Ennis, County Clare. The village of Finglas (now a fully
surrounded suburb) lies several miles northwest of the