“in the first glow of such a February sun”: Gerald Blount’s walk in Dublin

As part of my Phd research on depictions of Dublin in visual art, I have also been looking at written descriptions of the city through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While my main source has been guidebooks, in the past few weeks I’ve concentrated on other written sources – fiction, drama, and poetry.

One of the most striking descriptions of the city in the early part of the nineteenth century is in John Banim’s three volume novel, ‘The Anglo-Irish in the Nineteenth Century’, published in 1828. In a passage tucked away in the second volume, the text’s main protagonist, the Honourable Gerald Blount, takes an early morning stroll through the city. While the reader is told that Gerald leaves his ‘Guide to Dublin’, in his hotel room, the routes he takes, and the buildings that he notices conform to those found in contemporary guidebooks to the city.

Henry Brocas, c. 1798 - 1873), engraver, Samuel Frederick Brocas, c.1792-1847. View of College Green, published Dublin, J Le Petit, 1828. From National Library of Ireland, http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000036290

Henry Brocas, c. 1798 – 1873), engraver, Samuel Frederick Brocas, c.1792-1847. View of College Green, published Dublin, J Le Petit, 1828. From National Library of Ireland, http://catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000036290

Brought up to be ‘English-Irish’, in an Anglo-Irish family resident in London, Gerald is determined to find nothing but faults in the city around him. However, walking through the city and seeing the fine public buildings Dublin has to offer, his view is somewhat altered.

The full text of ‘The Anglo-Irish in the Nineteenth Century’ is available here.

Trying to envisage Gerald’s route, I have put together what might have been his journey through Dublin’s streets. In the text, he stays at ‘Morrysson’s Hotel, Dublin. Given the route he takes, I imagine this could refer to Morrison’s Hotel, which was at the bottom of Dawson Street, at the junction of Nassau Street – where Costa Coffee is today. With few direct references, it’s hard to work out exactly where he goes – but please have a look at the Google Map (and a read of the text) and see if I’m on the right track…I’ve also added small quotes from the text at some of the red balloon markers.

I’ve used Google Maps to make a few different things for research before, but this is the first time I’ve shared one. I feel like it’s a great way to gain a better sense of the geography of the material I’m working on and look forward to using it more in the future.

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