“One of the most tiresome duties was the six-hour night watch in the radio room. Little happened. Rarely was a telegram sent or received.  So, sitting there in my shorts, as the ship ploughed steadily through the blackness of the tropic night, I started to read Ulysses.”

One hot afternoon in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, I sought refuge from the boiling tropical sun in a shaded bookshop. There, in one of the long (...)

Victim of war: James Joyce around 1918. Photograph: C Ruf/Archive/Getty

Joyce finished the first chapter of Ulysses on June 16th, 1915, and it could not have been easy. The Berlitz school where he was teaching closed indef(...)

Seamus Heaney: to read the extraordinary outpouring of grief, memory and mourning is to realise his death was a unique – and a uniquely Irish – event. Photograph: Neil Drabble/Camera Press

Many years ago I was invited to a dinner in the Department of Foreign Affairs attended by Seamus Heaney, among others, and presided over by the then t(...)

Genius: James Joyce around 1918, while he was writing Ulysses. Photograph: C Ruf/Archive Photos/Getty
James Joyce and me

Not long ago, while visiting my son in San Francisco, I noticed that the toilet paper in his bathroom bore the legend: “Do you suffer from bathroom an(...)

Deirdre McQuillan Fiona Wall, nurse and her daughter Juliana, schoolgirl (Duchess Leaf Green Ladies and Dawes Little Duchess). “I g(...)

I t’s only a fragment, and it is impossible to make any serious claim for its quality. All that is known of the(...)

James Joyce. While staying at the Grand Hotel Corneille in  1902/03 he hoped for, among other things, some regular work with The Irish Times. Photograph: Getty

Rue Corneille is a narrow street, perhaps 150m long, linking Place Paul Claudel and the Place de L’Odéon on Paris’s Left Bank. Today it (...)