Tag Archives: James Joyce

James Cassidy

James Cassidy – artist, visionary and gentleman


The connection between Joyce and Mulligan’s was publicised on the façade of the pub in 1974 when the artist and sign-writer, James Cassidy, carried out considerable restoration work.


He used the front of number 10 as a large canvas on which he painted an elegant Mulligan’s overhead sign and a decorative roll commemorating Bloomsday with the insignia: Do chum Glóire Dé agus Onóra na hÉireann (To the Glory of God and the Honour of Ireland).

The phrase was also the motto of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.

It also appeared for many years on the masthead of the Irish Press which copied it from the dedication at the beginning of the Annals of the Four Masters. Richard Levins and his staff applied their artistic hands to the façades of numbers 8, 9 and 10 in the summer of 2014.


This hidden mural by James Cassidy was painted on the top western side of number 8 Poolbeg Street, Mulligan’s bar. It has since been painted over.

In 1985, Liam Robinson wrote an article in the Evening Press outlining James’s vision, artistry and enthusiasm.

Painter launches a Golden Age

By Liam Robinson

Because he paints the outside of Mulligan’s pub in Poolbeg Street, Dublin, in the tradition of great craftsmen, the work of James Cassidy is known all over the world. The pub has been a subject for professional and amateur photographers, for years and has attracted post card and poster painters who made it a best seller.


Now James, an expert in colour, an artisan and an artist as well, has set about launching Ireland into a second Golden Age. He says that this effort is not searching for something in a crock at the end of a rainbow. The country is small enough. It has talent. It has the tradition. All it wants is a bit of a push. And he has set out to provide the impetus.

President Patrick Hillery who was called upon by James Cassidy to re-invigorate Dublin city

The President and members of the Dail and local authorities have been asked to help pave the way to make 1986 Ireland’s Golden Year and so get fifteen out of every hundred unemployed involved in creative work. With his daughter, Martine, as secretary, James has got off over fifty letters to legislators; and community groups have been asked to co-operate.

“So far,” he says, “the response has been most encouraging. There are many groups around the country bursting to express themselves. But they want an umbrella under which to operate. To designate next year as Ireland’s Golden Year is the answer. And a beginning has already been made. We have asked the Lord Mayor and City Manager, the President and Taoiseach to make Smithfield, Dublin, into a ‘Cobbles and Culture’ square of international importance.”

James Cassidy and his wife, Josephine, after he won a prize of a shop-full of presents in a competition organised by the Irish Life Shopping Mall in Talbot Street, Dublin in 1990.

James met his wife at a Gaelic League club in Manchester and they now live with the six of their family in Finglas. They are all behind his proposed project. And so are the community organisations in Finglas.

ArtMart which they helped get off the ground in Smithfield has already taken part in two street carnivals, given two open art exhibitions and six exhibitions in Finglas library which culminated in a community environmental mural outside Finglas Main Centre.

James Cassidy enjoying a recent visit to Mulligan’s

James has demonstrated how murals can improve the surroundings of Smithfield and has taught pupils how to improve their own neighbourhoods with this particular form of art.

He says: “There are many grants, including ones from the EEC, which are not being used to put artistic talent to work. By operating under the aegis of a Golden Age project we can pool these resources and put new hope into a generous and outgoing people who deserve something better than standing at street corners and developing the mentality that drawing the dole is the most important activity in their lives.

“We visualise groups from everywhere, with a little encouragement, working for themselves and generating a new spirit of hop for the country.”

 Evening Press, 18 November, 1985


John Mulligan’s of Poolbeg Street by James Cassidy

Literary figures flowered

In John Mulligan’s bar.

Fame flourished fast

And travelled afar.

Was it the company

Or was it the drink

That prompted these people

To put pen to ink?

Spot anything familiar?

The map below is a revision conducted in 1908 of a survey done in 1837.  (The map is in two sections – the large white dividing space running vertically through the centre is the point of the division.) The section here clearly shows Mulligan’s at number 8, 9 and 10 Poolbeg Street. Number 8, Mulligan’s bar, is seen as a rectangle with the court-yard denoted as a thin white line in the top left-hand portion. The 1837 map would have shown only the front bar because the back portion (now the snug or Joyce Room) was not constructed until 1875.

1908 map

Number 9 is also represented as a rectangle. Again, the 1837 survey would only have shown the front lounge, as the back lounge was only built in 1875.

The Tivoli Theatre, later occupied by the Irish Press offices, is nearby. Both this theatre and Mulligan’s are mentioned in James Joyce’s short story, Counterparts, which is included in his book, Dubliners (1914).

The Public Baths on Tara Street are also designated. These were constructed in 1885 and mentioned in James Joyce’s book, Ulysses.

The image below is the section of the map showing the location of Mulligan’s at 8, 9 and 10 Poolbeg Street.


The Theatre Royal is also clearly seen in the larger image. This particular building was known as the Theatre Royal Hippodrome. It was knocked down and replaced by another Theatre Royal in 1935. This, in turn, was demolished in 1962 and, on the site, was built Hawkins House, the offices of the Department of Health & Children.

It is interesting to note that on Tara Street at number 45 on the map there is a fountain. If you click on the images they will enlarge and your can click again to get an even more detailed view of them.

James Joyce & the Mulligan’s area



jjj7In Finnegans Wake by James Joyce the River Liffey is embodied in the voice of Anna Livia Plurabelle


The river is also mentioned in Ulysses:

 A skiff, a crumpled throwaway, Elijah is coming, rode lightly down the Liffey, under Loopline Bridge, shooting the rapids where water chafed around the bridgepiers, sailing eastward past hulls and anchorchains, between the Custom House old dock and George’s quay.


jjj4The Tivoli Theatre (1898-1928)  was originally Conciliation Hall (1843), then the Grand Lyric Hall (1897), then the Lyric theatre of Varieties (1898) and finally the Tivoli Variety Theatre (1901).


It is mentioned in a short story Counterparts that forms one of the collection in Dubliners by James Joyce:

Weathers saluted them and told the company that they were out of the Tivoli.


jjj3Mulligan’s is used as a setting in the narrative of Counterparts (Dubliners) by James Joyce. The author had to fight with the publishers to keep the name Mulligan’s in the story because they feared the publican, James Mulligan, would sue them.



When the Scotch House closed they went round to Mulligan’s.


jjj6James Joyce had a life-long love of opera. He was a competent tenor and did well in competitions in his younger years. He frequently attended performances at the Theatre Royal, Hawkins Street.

The Theatre Royal (1897-1934)


jjj5The Crampton Memorial, at the junction of College Street/ Pearse Street and D’Olier Street was erected from the design of John Kirk the sculptor in 1862.  It was removed in 1959.


The memorial is mentioned in Ulysses:

Sir Philip Crampton’s memorial fountain bust. But who was he?


jjj2The Tara Street Baths and Wash-house were designed by Daniel J. Freeman, Dublin city architect 1879-1893, with construction starting in 1884. Later altered by a successor C.J. McCarthy.  


In Ulysses, Leopold Bloom uses the Tara Street public baths in the Lotus Eaters section of the novel.



Prospective president visits pub

The memorial monochrome photograph of John F. Kennedy, who visited Mulligan's in 1947. Picture courtesy of Jonas R.
The memorial monochrome photograph of John F. Kennedy, who visited Mulligan’s in 1947. Picture courtesy of Jonas R.

Mulligan’s is unique in that three of the most influential people in Literature, the performing arts and politics have visited it.

James Joyce is regarded as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, if not of all time.

Judy Garland is known throughout the world, not only because of her role in the Wizard of Oz but also because of her remarkable performances in other films and her skill as a singer.

President Kennedy pictured in the White House
President Kennedy pictured in the White House

In politics, John F. Kennedy is regarded as the consummate politician, the Camelot President who made people believe in themselves and in their country.

He visited Mulligan’s in the company of an Irish Press journalist, Jack Grealish, in 1947.