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James Joyce passed away 81 years ago today but why is he not buried in Dublin?

One of Irelands literary giants, James Joyce, passed away on this day 81 years ago.

Of course, Joyce is most well known for his work, Ulysses, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest novels ever written in the English language.

He also wrote the classics Finnegan’s Wake and The Dubliners, to name but a few.

How did Joyce, who used Dublin City and its people as his muse for the likes of Ulysses end up being buried in Fluntern Cemetery in Zurich, Switzerland?

While Dublin may have been at the centre of Joyce’s work, he had no love lost for the Catholic Ireland which he left behind when he headed to the continent.

Joyce had a disdain for the cosy relationship the Irish State had with the Catholic Church in the 20th century.

So much so that on at least two separate occasions James Joyce turned down the chance to acquire an Irish Passport, instead opting to renew his British one.

Even though having an Irish Free State Passport would have made it far easier to move around Vichy France, where Joyce was living for a time, he rejected the chance.

Because of his British passport, The Germans and the Vichy France government considered Joyce to be a British subject rather than a neutral Irish citizen.

Like Joyce did during World War I, he found safety and solace in moving to Switzerland. He successfully managed to get passage for himself, his wife Nora, his son George and grandson Stephen.

Just a day after surgery on a perforated ulcer, Joyce fell into a coma before waking up the following day, asking to see his wife and son. He died 15 minutes after making that request.

Since his death, there have been a couple of occasions where the idea of moving Joyce’s remains back to Dublin had been considered.

His wife Nora made the offer to repatriate James’ remains but that was shockingly rejected by De Valera and his Government.

Much more recently, in 2019, DCC councillors tabled a motion to have James and Nora’s remains brought back to Dublin.




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