This week’s featured place is Great Britain Street, where the priest of the “The Sisters” lives (or is lying dead, rather).parnellbritain

The street is particularly interesting in that shortly after the 1891 death of Charles Stewart Parnell, a leading Irish Nationalist, the name was changed from “Great Britain” to “Parnell” Street. This booklet published by the Dublin Civic Trust gives some more info on the history of this iconic street as well as its current thriving cultural significance. The booklet includes historical photos as well as building plans for store fronts. Although there’s no “Drapery,” in the diagram, one table shows that between 1845 and 1900, the number of “[c]lothiers, tailors, haberdashery, hosiery and drapery” businesses on the street fell from 17 to 6. The authors accredit this to “a decline in the quality of the street, away from the specialist uses of old towards a business community mainly serving the domestic demands of the local tenement population.”

Here’s the text of “The Sisters” where the street is referenced:

“The next morning after breakfast I went down to look at the little house in Great Britain Street. It was an unassuming shop, registered under the vague name of Drapery” (11).

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7 Responses to Great Britain Street

  1. […] most likely, because of its proximity to the priest and his sisters’ home in Great Britain Street, Don Gifford identifies the reference as the Irishtown that is the “poor, working-class slum […]

  2. […] in the north section of Dublin. It is bordered on northwest and southeast by Palace Row and Great Britain Street (now Parnell Street), and on southwest and northeast by Granby Row and Cavendish Row, which becomes […]

  3. […] just steps away from the other St. Catherine’s, coupled with the bookended references to Great Britain Street and Irishtown, the story’s first and last geographical references, respectively, suggest […]

  4. […] Irish College in Rome, pertain to Father Flynn. And only one of these is shared with the narrator: Great Britain Street. The street is where the Drapery is, where Flynn is lying in “the house of mourning” […]

  5. […] of the Persian Empire itself, but also the British Empire, which is also alluded to in the name of Great Britain Street, where the boy walks as he recalls his dream. As he walks, he also recalls that Father Flynn was […]

  6. […] Place is half a block south of Great Britain (now Parnell) Street just off of Marlborough Street. The three aging siblings would have been able to walk to Johnny […]

  7. […] just before the Capel Street reference show Lenehan eating a plate of peas at a pub (likely in Great Britain Street) while he considers his life, first hopelesslessy and then a little more […]

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