Blog and online portfolio of Ian Pollard

Martello Tower at Finvarra

“In the gloomy domed livingroom of the tower Buck Mulligan’s gowned form moved briskly about the hearth to and fro, hiding and revealing its yellow glow. Two shafts of soft daylight fell across the flagged floor from the high barbicans: and at the meeting of their rays a cloud of coalsmoke and fumes of fried grease floated, turning.”

Ulysses Ch.1 [Telemachus] – James Joyce


[An article prepared for matzine 09 ‘Copy+Paste’ ed. Stephen Mackie]

Martello Towers are compact defensive forts built by the British during the early 19th century – for the Napoleonic wars – at coastal positions throughout the diverse regions of their empire. They are a development of earlier Corsican defensive towers, and draw their name and design from one at Mortella, which was completed in 1565. The design and implementation of the Martello Towers across the 140 locations at which they were constructed remained broadly consistent, and was later emulated and re-purposed for communications by other nations, including America and France.

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Filed under: Architecture, History

Bloom as Flâneur

“He turned away and sauntered across the road. How did she walk with her sausages? Like that something. As he walked he took the folded Freeman from his sidepocket, unfolded it, rolled it lengthwise in a baton and tapped it at each sauntering step against his trouserleg. Careless air: just drop in to see. Per second per second. Per second for every second it means.”

{Leopold Bloom; Lotus Eaters. pp.68. Ulysses.}

“Man as civilized being, as intellectual nomad, is again wholly microcosmic, wholly homeless, as free intellectually as hunter and herdsman were free sensually”

{Spengler Vol.2 pp.125}


In Joyce’s Ulysses we follow the peripatetic Leopold Bloom, our most ordinary hero, as he walks though the streets of Dublin in 1904. It is in Ulysses, through Bloom and his unstructured perambulations, that the reader is brought to experience a domestic psycho-geography of Dublin which parallels Odysseus’ epic journey through ancient Greece. In Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, the valiant hero Odysseus travels for ten years, following the fall of Troy, to reach his home; Ithaca, and his wife Penelope.  Bloom is on epic journey too – although he is not aware of this – as he lives through the course of a single day. Ulysses is an encyclopedic glossary of a city, and its human geography, and Bloom is our conscious guide.

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Filed under: Cartography, History, mat.zine