35 North Great George’s Street was built in 1784 for Valentine Brown, the Earl of Kenmare, who used it as his townhouse. In the eighteenth century, this area of Dublin was very fashionable but it fell into decline in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the house was bought by the Graham family who let part of the building to a Mr Maginn. Maginn opened a dancing academy and ballroom on the premises and advertised himself as “Mr Denis J Maginni, Professor of Dancing &c” and it is under this title that he appears in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
By 1982, twelve houses on North Great George’s Street had been demolished by Dublin City Council including the house next door. A group of campaigners managed to save No. 35 from demolition. On 16 June 1982 — the year that marked the centenary of James Joyce’s birth and the day on which Ulysses is set, affectionally known as “Bloomsday” — the keys were handed over to Senator David Norris on behalf of the James Joyce Centre. With the help of many others and with funding from a variety of sources, the building was renovated and the Centre opened on Bloomsday 1996. For over ten years, the Centre was run by members of the Joyce and Monaghan families, descendants of Joyce’s brother Charles Joyce and sister May Monaghan. It is now run as a limited company, with educational charity status.
The James Joyce Centre is registered with the Charities Regulatory Authority in the Republic of Ireland. Our Charity Registration number is 20022679.
If you are an accredited member of the media and you wish to visit the Centre, you can arrange a complimentary media pass through Visit Dublin or by emailing [email protected].
If you would like images or information about the Centre for publication, please don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected].
The James Joyce Centre is dedicated to being a global hub for the world-wide celebration of writer James Joyce and to the promotion of an understanding of his life, literature, and legacy.
To build and sustain capacity in the James Joyce Cultural Centre and through www.jamesjoyce.ie which will demonstrate the vibrancy and purpose which the Board of Management and Staff of the Centre bring to the task of realising their Vision. We aim to develop the position of the James Joyce Centre as the focal point for the worldwide celebration of James Joyce and as a destination for literary tourism, access to Georgian Dublin, and culture in Dublin city.