Adam Court

Adam Court

In Brief

"Adam court" is a short dead-end pedestrian alley opening off of Grafton Street to the east. Today it is dedicated to drinking and musical entertainment. In Joyce's time it was not much different.

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Lestrygonians shows Bloom passing the alley on his way down Grafton Street: "Mr Bloom, quickbreathing, slowlier walking, passed Adam court." He thinks,"this is street here middle of the day Bob Doran’s bottle shoulders. On his annual bend, M'Coy said. They drink in order to say or do something or cherchez la femme." The syntax suggests that Bloom may be thinking of some other time when he saw Doran lurching into Adam Court, but some sentences soon afterward make it seem more likely that he has spotted Doran's form in the crowd and now confirms the sighting: "Yes. Thought so. Sloping into the Empire. Gone. Plain soda would do him good. Where Pat Kinsella had his Harp theatre before Whitbred ran the Queen's."

In 1904 the Empire Buffet was a pub and restaurant at 1-3 Adam Court, on the Grafton Street corner. A 1919 advertisement in the Freeman's Journal shows that it remained at that address through the war years. Bloom thinks back to a time in the 1890s when there was a cabaret called the Harp Musical Hall at the same address. In recent years the music has returned. From the 1990s until April 2019 the building housed Lillie's Bordello, a glitzy upscale nightclub with music and dancing where celebrities regularly congregated. Now the space is occupied by Lost Lane, another nightclub with a less exclusive appeal and an emphasis squarely on live music.

JH 2019
Adam Court in 2019 photographed from Grafton Street, with entertainers checking into Lost Lane nightclub and bronze plaque visible embedded in sidewalk. Source: John Hunt.
Adam Court in 2019 photographed from the east end, looking back toward Grafton Street. Source: John Hunt.
Empire Buffet ad in the 8 August 1919 Freeman's Journal. Source:
2019 photograph of a well-worn bronze plaque by Robin Buick embedded in the Grafton Street sidewalk in front of Adam Court. Source: John Hunt.