After his circuitous journey from Westland Row, Bloom comes to "the open backdoor of All Hallows." This church, which everyone but Joyce seems to call St. Andrew's, has a back entrance on Cumberland Street South and a main entrance on Westland Row, just south of the post office.
St. Andrew's is a lovely church, and its founding in 1832,
shortly after Catholic Emancipation in 1828-29, was a matter
of considerable civic pride. The website of the Irish Catholic
Bishops Conference, www.catholicbishops.ie, notes that "The
church cost £20,000 to build, a large sum reflecting the
new-found confidence of Irish Catholics in the period after
Emancipation. The decision to build St Andrew's was also
strongly supported by one of its most eminent parishioners, Daniel O’Connell." O'Connell,
of course, had played a crucial role in passing the laws that
legitimized Catholic worship.
As happens again with the mortuary
chapel in the next chapter, Bloom takes no architectural
or historical interest in the church. For him it is a place
where an alien species performs strange rites. He is, however,
"called" in by "The cold smell of sacred stone"—an
extraordinarily apt and beautiful evocation of the experience
of leaving city streets for the quiet of an old stone church.