Tramways company

Tramways company

In Brief

The Dublin United Tramways Company (sometimes called DUTCo) was a private conglomerate that operated most of the city's trams. It was dominated by a journalist and businessman named William Martin Murphy.

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Beginning in 1871, several different companies laid tracks for urban tramlines to various points in central Dublin and its near suburbs, and eventually to the more distant tourist locales of Poulaphouca Falls and Howth. Murphy founded the DUTC in 1881 and began merging companies, installing himself as Chairman of the conglomerate. Beginning in 1896 the company began the electrification of its trams, which had previously been horse-drawn. Most of Dublin's trams were electrified by early 1901—a source of considerable civic pride, as it put Dublin in the vanguard of European cities.

The DUTC is first mentioned in Aeolus, as "The hoarse Dublin United Tramway Company’s timekeeper" calls out the destinations of various departing trams. It is mentioned again in Eumaeus when "a Dublin United Tramways Company’s sandstrewer" passes by Bloom and Stephen, prompting Bloom to mention his close encounter with one of these machines at the beginning of Circe. A final mention comes in Ithaca when Bloom, contemplating once more his scheme to transport cattle to the Liffey docks by rail, thinks that the "

additional mileage operated by the Dublin United Tramways Company, limited" will be "covered by graziers' fees." The alert reader may notice that Joyce omitted the "s" at the end of "Tramways" in the first of these passages, but he appears to have caught his mistake in later chapters.
JH 2013
Dublin United Tramways Company ad, ca. 1900, showing the central transfer point near Nelson's Pillar. Source: Wikipedia.