Kingsbridge Station

Kingsbridge Station

In Brief

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.

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After 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.

JH 2019
Photograph by John J. Clarke, ca. 1897-1904, of a jaunting car passing the Kingsbridge railway station. Source: