“An Encounter” Route

This week’s featured place is not really one fixed place at all; it’s an entire route. In “An Encounter,” the narrator plans “a day’s miching” with his friends to skip school and go visit the Pigeon House (21). The video above is from the Google Earth version of the map and shows an approximation of the route taken first by the narrator alone and then with Mahony when the two meet at the Canal Bridge.

The Canal Bridge is the first clear reference point on the boys’ route. After the narrator and Mahony give up on Joe Dillon, they begin their journey: “We walked along the North Strand Road till we came to the Vitriol Works and then turned to the right along the Wharf Road” (23). The boys meander a bit around the industrial area before they board the ferry to cross the Liffey. Once across, they wander the streets of Ringsend before settling on a sloping bank of the Dodder. In all, the boys travel about 4.5 kilometers, but since parts of the text describe them walking about or wandering one area for a long time, they could easily cover much more ground than that.

Since Google Earth uses current satellite imagery (not historic), many of the buildings are no-doubt new constructions since the time of the story’s setting. The buildings on what could be the sloping bank, for example, don’t appear to be 100 years old and so probably would not have been there hindering the boys’ path. Still, the end of the route is, like the beginning of it, approximate. Since the text doesn’t specify streets once the travelers cross the river, and the geographic references are more vague, it isn’t clear just where exactly the boys finally have their encounter with the josser.

Even using an approximation, though, we can see the path the boys travel is in some ways similar to the path of “Araby’s” narrator. Both routes begin north of the Liffey near the Christian Brothers School. Both end south of the Liffey, and while they each end in different places south of the river, their two ending locations are connected by the line of the Dodder. Neither story includes a return route, but “An Encounter” suggests a hypothetical return via train.

Author: Jasmine Mulliken

Jasmine Mulliken is Digital Production Associate at Stanford University Press. Prior to that she spent five years as Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Oklahoma State University. She has a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin and specializes in 20th-Century British Literature, Digital Humanities, and Digital Literacies.

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