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Dublin Pubs - A Walk Down Memory Lane - The Bailey, Duke Street

During the years of the Celtic Tiger, we lost a lot of our tradition and culture. One example was the closing of the original Bailey to make room for a department store. Today if you manage to get a seat outside the new Bailey on a sunny day it is one of the best places to watch the world go by. But I think the Bailey of the rare auld times would be my preference.

Originally The Maltings, it was always a draw to literary, political and international characters, as eclectic as Brendan Behan, Charles Stewart Parnell and Charlie Chaplin. In 1957 John Ryan, a key figure of Bohemian Dublin in the 40's and 50's, purchased The Bailey. It was Mr Ryan who initiated Blooms Day, when in 1954 he and Flann O'Brien organised a day long pilgrimage along the route of Ulysses, they abandoned it half way and ended up in the Bailey. Loyal to the significance of James Joyce, when he heard that Nr 7 Eccles Street, the fictional home of Leopold and Molly, was to be demolished, he rushed to the nuns who owned the building to rescue the front door. The nun was horrified on hearing that it had connections with " that pagan writer " but nearly took the door off the hinges when she saw Mr Ryan take out his cheque book ! The door was installed in the pub and has since been moved to The James Joyce Museum. Funny enough some people actually believed that Bloom was a real character .. on unveiling a plaque marking his supposed birthplace, a local claimed that while he didn't know him well his sister lit a candle for his mother every Saturday as she was very religious and was devoted to Mr Bloom !

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