In Penelope Molly recalls seeing Stephen Dedalus when
he was half his present age: "I saw him driving down to the
Kingsbridge station with his father and mother I was in
mourning thats 11 years ago now yes hed be 11."
The Kingsbridge train station (today renamed Heuston) is on
the western edge of inner Dublin, just south of the "Kingsbridge"
over the Liffey mentioned in Wandering Rocks. In
Joyce's time it connected Dublin by train with southwestern
Ireland via the Great Southern and Western Railway. In late
1893 James Joyce, then 11 years old, made a trip to Cork with
his father, leaving from Kingsbridge Station.
Read MoreAfter King George IV paid a visit to Ireland in 1821, a bridge was built across the Liffey to commemorate the event. Wandering Rocks observes that the viceregal cavalcade, having left Phoenix Park by the lower gate, "proceeded past Kingsbridge along the northern quays." This phrase most likely refers to the King's Bridge itself, but Joyce could possibly be thinking of the station. As the second photograph here illustrates, it is really a distinction without a difference. In 1846 the GSWR built a striking new train station just south of the bridge, designed in an Italianate style by English architect Sancton Wood. In 1966, fifty years after the Easter Rising, the station was renamed after Seán Heuston, one of the sixteen leaders executed by the British authorities. Heuston had been employed by the railroad, had worked in the offices of the station, and had commanded a detachment of soldiers nearby during the Rising.
In the second part of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young
Man, Stephen is seen "seated beside his father in the
corner of a railway carriage at Kingsbridge. He was traveling
with his father by the night train to Cork" (91-92). The
purpose of the trip is to sell some family properties in that
city, where John Joyce was born, in order to pay back a
moneylender to whom he was deeply in debt. Joyce made a point
of remembering the name of that moneylender, Reuben J. Dodd,
in Ulysses. He also extended the events of the
earlier novel into the later one by having Molly recall seeing
Stephen heading off to the station.
In addition to the southwest-oriented GSWR, other railroad
companies in 1904 connected Dublin to diverse parts of Ireland
via independently owned stations. Trains operated by the
Midland Great Western Railway (MGWR) left the Broadstone Terminus bound
for Mullingar, Galway, and other points west. Trains of the
Great Northern Railway (GNR) left the Amiens Street station
for points north and northeast, including Derry and Belfast.
Trains of the Dublin Wicklow and Wexford Railway (DWWR) headed
southeast from the Westland Row Station.