The James Joyce Centre occupies a grand eighteenth-century townhouse, restored in the 1980s. The centre aims to illuminate the work of perhaps Ireland’s most imaginative yet most complex writer, who spent part of his life living in the inner Northside, and drew upon his experiences in the creation of his characters and the settings for his works. The building features decorative stucco mouldings by Michael Stapleton. The ground floor houses a small shop full of Joyceiana, such as books and prints, and an airy courtyard which includes the actual period door of 7 Eccles Street, the fictional home of Leopold and Molly Bloom, two of the main protagonists in Ulysses, as well as a somewhat enigmatic, modernist Joyce-inspired sculpture of a cow.
The building’s upper floors house a recreation of the tiny room occupied by Joyce in Trieste, featuring various books, pianola music-rolls and a splendid collection of hats, as well as photographs of people and places associated with Ulysses, and touchscreen consoles tracing the development of the novel’s plot and its variety of characters. Three short documentary films on the writer’s life can also be viewed.