Sweny’s chemist on Lincoln Place is famous because Leopold Bloom stopped off here on December 16th 1904, in Ulysses, to purchase a cake of lemon soap for Molly, his wife.
Built in 1847 as a GPs consulting room and despite four fires this chemist has survived with the original sign and interior mahogany decor. It was later later adapted to include an apothecary and then a pharmacy. It could be said thatiIt has been preserved “through neglect” in memory of James Joyce. It has had several owners since the Sweny family, but the ‘Sweny’ trading name still remains.
The young student James Joyce called to this very store. It is said that he consulted with the then pharmacist Frederick William Sweny in such detail that it is possible to recreate the prescription he describes in Chapter 5 of his famous novel Ulysses.
In that chapter, whilst waiting for the pharmacist Bloom smells the lemony soap on the counter and takes a bar with him.
The interior of this historical hub is small and quaint approximately 11ft wide by 14ft long with beautiful high ceilings. Some of the floor space is taken up by the mahogany counters and there is also a small room at the rear of the store. Many of the original furnishings remain and the drawers are stocked with unclaimed packages neatly labeled and tied with string! Complemented by unclaimed, unnamed portraits remain in their frames watching on as Joyce’s readings are read aloud daily by literature lovers who take pleasure in the clarity of Joyce’s memories and cherish this historical landmark which served James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde and the residents of Fenian Street and Westland Row for over one hundred years.
This unique and mysterious property is absolutely ideal for any vintage photo-shoots and/or filming opportunities.
With thanks to photolocations.ie
A glimpse into the past, a scent of sweet lemony wax…….