To ushers quay, to the House of the Dead, wherein Joyce set the most famous of his short stories, “The Dead”. The house is a tall elegant Georgian building with long and equally elegant windows overlooking the river Liffey and the new James Joyce Bridge designed by the Spaniard Santiago Calatrava and of which Joyce would surely approve.
The Georgian interior is lit by candles and the table set as it would have been for a well to do family Christmas in the early part of the twentieth century. We are gathered to celebrate Joyce, to recreate the dinner party, to sing the songs, recite the poems, to drink the wine, to enjoy the open fires, to indulge, reflect. In the same house, in the same rooms that Joyce himself recited the poems and sang the songs and drank the wine and from which experience he wrote such powerful prose.
There is turf on the fire and a beautiful Dublin girl is singing The Lass of Aughrim, accompanied by an Irish fiddle player, no less a musician than John Sheahan of the Dubliners. There are more songs from Joyce and from O’Casey, and tunes from the tin whistle the mandolin and the fiddle, there are poems and a visiting American academic dances and sways before the glowing turfs.
Late into the night we spill onto the quays still haunted by the singing and knowing well enough that there will be few nights in Dublin, or indeed anywhere else that will be as enjoyable as dinner at the House of the Dead.
The House of the Dead is at 15 Ushers Island, Dublin 8 and is owned by Barrister Brendan Kilty who organises regular dinner parties of the kind described. For details contact Brendan at email@example.com
For more Bits and pieces check out the contents page