two old Dublin women on top of Nelson's pillar

—They buy one and fourpenceworth of brawn and four slices of panloaf at the north city diningrooms in Marlborough street from Miss Kate Collins, proprietress… They purchase four and twenty ripe plums from a girl at the foot of Nelson’s pillar to take off the thirst of the brawn. They give two threepenny bits to the gentleman at the turnstile and begin to waddle slowly up the winding staircase, grunting, encouraging each other, afraid of the dark, panting, one asking the other have you the brawn, praising God and the Blessed Virgin, threatening to come down, peeping at the airslits. Glory be to God. They had no idea it was that high. Their names are Anne Kearns and Florence MacCabe. Anne Kearns has the lumbago for which she rubs on Lourdes water, given her by a lady who got a bottleful from a passionist father. Florence MacCabe takes a crubeen and a bottle of double X for supper every Saturday. —Antithesis, the professor said nodding twice. Vestal virgins. I can see them. What’s keeping our friend? He turned. A bevy of scampering newsboys rushed down the steps, scattering in all directions, yelling, their white papers fluttering. Hard after them Myles Crawford appeared on the steps, his hat aureoling his scarlet face, talking with J. J. O’Molloy. —Come along, the professor cried, waving his arm. He set off again to walk by Stephen’s side.


Nelson’s Pillar would have had special meaning for Joyce as it was a particular thorn in the paw for people in favor of home rule. Located on O’Conell street, it was a monument to an English lord on a street dedicated to Irish heroes. I think Joyce would be kind of pleased that it was blown up by terrorist in 1966. Although I will say having been to Dublin the pillar would have been much more interesting to visit than the Spire that replaced it. I found so many great videos about the tower that I had to link all of them. Enjoy!