The Great Gallaher floating in the clouds

—You can do it, Myles Crawford repeated, clenching his hand in emphasis. Wait a minute. We’ll paralyse Europe as Ignatius Gallaher used to say when he was on the shaughraun, doing billiardmarking in the Clarence. Gallaher, that was a pressman for you. That was a pen. You know how he made his mark? I’ll tell you. That was the smartest piece of journalism ever known. That was in eightyone, sixth of May, time of the invincibles, murder in the Phoenix park, before you were born, I suppose. I’ll show you.

He pushed past them to the files.

—Look at here, he said turning. The New York World cabled for a special. Remember that time?

Professor MacHugh nodded.

New York World, the editor said, excitedly pushing back his straw hat. Where it took place. Tim Kelly, or Kavanagh I mean. Joe Brady and the rest of them. Where Skin-the-Goat drove the car. Whole route, see?

—Skin-the-Goat, Mr O’Madden Burke said. Fitzharris. He has that cabman’s shelter, they say, down there at Butt bridge. Holohan told me. You know Holohan?

—Hop and carry one, is it? Myles Crawford said.

—And poor Gumley is down there too, so he told me, minding stones for the corporation. A night watchman.

Stephen turned in surprise.

—Gumley? he said. You don’t say so? A friend of my father’s, is it?

—Never mind Gumley, Myles Crawford cried angrily. Let Gumley mind the stones, see they don’t run away. Look at here. What did Ignatius Gallaher do? I’ll tell you. Inspiration of genius. Cabled right away. Have you Weekly Freeman of 17 March? Right. Have you got that?

He flung back pages of the files and stuck his finger on a point.

—Take page four, advertisement for Bransome’s coffee, let us say. Have you got that? Right.

The telephone whirred.


So much praise of Ignatius Gallaher of course lead me to find out who he is. I’m currently working my way through illustrating Dubliners as well but have not yet reached “A Little Cloud”, the short story in which Ignatius appears. I’m excited to have characters I’ve drawn move across projects. I’m very much looking forward to drawing him in Dubliners now. It is commonly believed that the relationship between Gallaher and the protagonist, Little Chandler from “A Little Cloud” is meant to represent the relationship of England to Ireland at the time (source). Knowing that to be true I find it interesting that Joyce makes this gaggle of Irish intellectuals speak so highly of him. One would assume they would hold contempt for him but perhaps it is meant to represent how sometimes you can both love and hate those close to you who are more successful.