In honor of Ivy Day (October 6), this week’s featured place is Wicklow Street, the setting of “Ivy Day in the Committee Room:”
“Mr. O’Connor had been engaged by Tierney’s agent to canvass one part of the ward but, as the weather was inclement and his boots let in the wet, he spent a great part of the day sitting by the fire in the Committee Room in Wicklow Street with Jack, the old caretaker” (119).
It’s where the canvassers gather to await their pay and where Hynes delivers his poetic tribute to Parnell.
“Ivy Day” is the only story to reference Wicklow Street, and in the story it is the most central location amid the other references. The location seems a logical centralizing place for a meeting room of canvassers who are spread out in Aungier and Dawson Streets. On a map, Aungier Street is southwest, or to the left of the committee room while Dawson Street is southeast, or to the right. The “left-leaning” O’Connor, appropriately, has been canvassing in Aungier Street, and Henchy, who is “ambivalent center,” manages to sway Crofton the “conservative Orangeman on the far right” in Dawson Street (Gifford 88).
By the end of the story, all the characters seem to meet in the middle, around the fire in Wicklow Street, applauding in approval of Hynes’s tribute to Parnell. That the committee room is north of the canvassing areas, above those places on the map, adds an element of possibly ‘rising above’ the momentary political quibbles to reflect on a figure of historic political significance that has affected “The Irish heart where’er it be” (Joyce 134).