James Joyce Seat of Learning

James Joyce Seat of Learning, public art, Rick Dalmau 

Public Art: James Joyce Seat of Learning

Designer: © Rick Dalmau

Description: The steel seat was designed to commemorate Ireland’s most famous writer, James Joyce. A brick from Joyce's now demolished childhood home in Drumcondra, is incorporated into the seat.

Date Unveiled: August the 26th, 2004. In attendance at the unveiling was Brendan Kilty, artist Rick Dalmau. During the unveiling the seat was christened by Irish writer, Colm Toibin who was in town for the Melbourne Writer's Festival.

Sponsored By: Readers Feast Booksellers

Location: The James Joyce seat is located in the forecourt of the State Library of Victoria, Melbourne , Australia.


James Joyce Seat of Learning

Installed on August 26th 2004
Brick fom Joyce's house , Drumcondra, Ireland.
Brick donated by Mr Brendan Kilty.SC Dublin,Ireland

Designer : Rick Dalmau

Seat donated by Readers Feast Bookstore for Melbourne readers in reognition of Australian and Irish histories and communities.
This seat is one of 63 seats being placed in cities around the world.

Artist's Statement: During the unveiling Rick Dalmau, who designed the seat, said he was inspired by "something Brendan Kilty said" about Irish monks sitting on high stools while writing illuminated manuscripts.

Background to the James Joyce Seat of Learning:  It was through Mary Dalmau of Reader's Feast that the Melbourne seat was installed. She had been following the fascinating quest of Dubliner Brendan Kilty to preserve one of James Joyce’s childhood homes which had been demolished illegally by developers in 1989.

A mortified Kilty, who had heard through his daughter that Joyce's home at 2 Millbourne Avenue was to be demolished,  decided to purchase 18 truckloads of the bricks at of a cost of around $4000. Hello, the the Drumcondra house had featured in Joyce's novel Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, for goodness sakes. 

Now the happy owner of 18 truckloads of rubble, Kilty needed to come up with a plan to honor James Joyce's memory. His idea for the 63 seats eventually sprang from a suggestion the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, had made, that a brick should be set into a seat commemorating Joyce at a nearby park.

Where are the James Joyce Seats of Learning? : There has been a total of 4 seats installed so far and 20 other locations have been earmarked around the world.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Melbourne, Victoria , Australia
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Camden, New Jersey, USA

Trivia: This was the second James Joyce Seat of Learning to be unveiled of the 63. The first was in Kuala Lumpur in the grounds of the Alice Smith International School .

The State Library of Victoria has number 25 of the 100 limited 1922 first editions of Ulysses signed by Joyce.

Brendan Kilty bought and renovated a derelict late-18th century house called Usher's Island on the south bank of the Liffey, that was once home to Joyce's great aunts and is the setting for his story, The Dead.

The James Joyce Seat of Learning in Toowoomba survived the devastating floods of 2011.

When the dawn demoltion of the Druncondra house was underway, there were no protesters just a single cameraman.


Brendan Kilty's website 

The Age :  Article, Joyce seat features a homely treasure,  Larry Schwartz, August 27, 2004.

RSS  Public-Art-Around-The-World


If All Else Fails, Search!