Literarisches Irland

F. W. Sweny & Co. Ltd.

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1 Lincoln Place, Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Sweny's is a significant Joycean landmark where Leopold Bloom bought his lemon soap. It is located close to Trinity College and Dublin city centre.

Read Joyce in Dublin.

‘Sweny’s in Lincoln Place. Chemists rarely move. Their gold beaconjars too heavy to stir’, muses Leopold Bloom, the enigmatic hero of James Joyce’s world famous ‘Ulysses’. Bloom was on his way to Swenys pharmacy to pick up a lotion for his wife Molly. Over one hundred years later Swenys, although no longer a working pharmacy, remains at 1 Lincoln Place, beautifully preserved in its evocative 1850s’ Victorian charm.

Nearby is Leinster Street, where Joyce first met his future wife, Nora Barnacle and also where the former Finn’s Hotel was located, Nora’s place of employment. Just around the corner from Sweny’s is Merrion Square, where Joyce and Nora met for their first date.

It was June 16th, 1904, the day which Joyce later chose as the setting for Leopold Bloom’s famous sojourn through Dublin City, now celebrated worldwide as Bloomsday. Sweny’s features in chapter 5, where Joyce skilfully evokes the sights and aromas which envelop Bloom when he enters the pharmacy. A bar of lemon soap attracts his attention. ‘Mr. Bloom raised a cake to his nostrils. Sweet lemony wax. I’ll take this one, he said.’

Recognising its historical and cultural value, Sweny’s is now maintained and run solely by volunteers. Daily reading sessions are offered during which visitors can participate in the reading aloud of a short story from Joyce’s finely crafted ‘Dubliners’ collection. For those who wish to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Joyce’s work, on going readings of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake take place weekly, led by knowledgeable facilitators.

Sweny’s is available for hire to small groups for private readings in the atmospheric and intimate surroundings of this unique piece of Joyce’s Dublin. In these sessions, following a short, informative talk on the subject matter, guests are invited to participate in the reading of one or two stories from the ‘Dubliners’ collection. The duration of the sessions is about 75 minutes, which also allows for a short talk and discussion on completion of each reading.

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