"Strasburg terrace" is a short dead-end street that fronts some open space in "Irishtown," a suburb just north of Sandymount on the seacoast east of Dublin. In Joyce's time it wass distinctly un-posh, but today it is more respectable. Stephen's "aunt Sara" (or "Sally") lives in a row of houses on the street with her husband Richie Goulding and their children. Is Stephen thinking of asking whether he can move in with them?
Irishtown's name dates to the 15th century, when the English rulers of Dublin became fearful of being outnumbered by the natives and enacted statutes that banned Irish people from living within the city limits or doing business there past daylight hours. They built their own shabbier town outside the walls.
Today land has been reclaimed from the sea on the eastern
edge of Irishtown, but in 1904 Strasburg Terrace was very
close to the shore—it runs eastward from Strand Street—so it
would be easy for Stephen to turn northwest and walk across
the sands to his aunt's house. He stops and thinks about it: "His
pace slackened. Here. Am I going to aunt Sara's or not?"
After thinking about the scene
that would greet him in the house, he sees his feet heading northeast
toward the Pigeon House
and realizes that he will not be visiting his relatives
today—or staying the night.
In Hades the funeral carriages roll through
Irishtown on the Tritonville Road and, just past "Watery
lane," Bloom spots Stephen walking along the road,
apparently headed for central Dublin after his time on the mud
flats. Watery Lane, now Dermot O'Hurley Avenue, lies a bit
north and west of Strasburg Terrace. In Aeolus Bloom
wonders what Stephen was up to: "Has a good pair of boots on
him today. Last time I saw him he had his heels on view. Been
walking in muck somewhere. Careless chap. What was he
doing in Irishtown?" In Eumaeus he is still
reflecting on the locale: "things always moved with the times.
Why, as he reflected, Irishtown strand, a locality he
had not been in for quite a number of years looked different
somehow since, as it happened, he went to reside on the north
Bloom decides that perhaps he was paying a call on a nice
girl: "It was a thousand pities a young fellow, blessed with
an allowance of brains as his neighbour obviously was, should
waste his valuable time with profligate women who might
present him with a nice dose to last him his lifetime. In the
nature of single blessedness he would one day take unto
himself a wife when Miss Right came on the scene but in the
interim ladies’ society was a conditio sine qua non though
he had the gravest possible doubts, not that he wanted in the
smallest to pump Stephen about Miss Ferguson (who was very
possibly the particular lodestar who brought him down to
Irishtown so early in the morning), as to whether he
would find much satisfaction basking in the boy and girl
courtship idea and the company of smirking misses without a
penny to their names bi or triweekly with the orthodox
preliminary canter of complimentplaying and walking out
leading up to fond lovers’ ways and flowers and chocs." Miss
Ferguson, of course, is a creature of Bloom's imagination,
prompted by hearing Stephen recite Yeats' Fergus poem. The
female he is currently taken with, Georgina Johnson, is
precisely one of those "profligate women."