Downes’s Cake Shop

The first featured place of the week is Downes’s cake-shop, where Maria buys penny cakes in “Clay:”

Earl Street. photograph by Robert French from National Library of Ireland's digitized Lawrence Collection at
Earl Street. photograph by Robert French from National Library of Ireland’s digitized Lawrence Collection at

“She went into Downes’s cake-shop but the shop was so full of people that it was a long time before she could get herself attended to…She decided to buy some plumcake but Downes’s plumcake had not enough almond icing on top of it so she went over to a shop in Henry Street” (102).

Don Gifford places Downes’s at 6 Earl Street in Joyce Annotated, 1982. “Earl Street” by Robert French, pictured right, is part of the digitized Lawrence Photograph Collection at the National Library of Ireland.

Maria’s route takes her, via tram, from where she lives and works in Ballsbridge to the pillar, which she approaches from the south. There she disembarks and walks east along Earl Street to Downes’s and then west, past the pillar, into Henry Street. Then she returns to the pillar and heads north via another tram to Drumcondra. The cake-buying interlude effectively creates a cross out of her route, making this service a kind of religious pause before meeting with her brother and his family.

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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