Madams & Myths of Monto – a stroll through James Joyce’s ‘Nighttown’
Back in 1904, Mecklenburg Street (Railway Street) was a terrace of grand but fading Georgian houses, and it was here in the area known as ‘Monto’ that James Joyce set the Nighttown section of Ulysses, describing a visit by Leopold Bloom to a brothel run by an infamous ‘Madam’ known as Bella Cohen.
From the mid-1860s, ‘Monto’ was reputed to have been Europe’s most notorious red light district, controlled by Madams such as Bella Cohen, who exploited prostitutes with violence and money, keeping them in debt to pay for clothes and lodgings before dumping them as they grew older. This tour will follow the route taken by Leopold Bloom on 16th June 1904 as we explore how the area got its name and prospered during a time of great poverty in Dublin. Discover Monto’s once famous inhabitants; its regular visitors and how this red light district situated in the shadow of Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral operated for so long before its demise in the 1920s.
Meeting point: Butt Bridge (Loopline Bridge), Custom House Quay, North Dock, Dublin
Tour times: 4pm and 6pm, both lasting 45 minutes.
Booking is essential as places are limited.