I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.



By this riverside, on our sunnybank, how buona the vista, by Santa Rosa! A field of May! the very vale of Spring.Thus Joyce, in Finnegans Wake, on the fine riverside house in Dublin’s Chapelizod, where Alfred William Charles Harmsworth, later Lord Northcliffe, was born in 1865, and which, still called Sunnybank, came on the market again earlier this year (“A mere description of this property will not serve justice to the unique nature of what is on offer …”, the estate agents trilled; but that did not stop them).Lord Northcliffe, as proprietor of both The Times and the Daily Mail (“the penny newspaper for one halfpenny”) exercised influence over both “the classes and the masses” and he used that influence in the years before 1914 to whip up anti-German feeling. As The Star newspaper saw things, “Next to the Kaiser, Lord Northcliffe has done more than any living man to bring about the war.”Still, a posh name is a posh name and Irish builders were proud to sell a Chapelizod apartment complex under the Northcliffe name in the 1990s. Northcliffe himself was to eventually develop clinical megalomania. He died in London on August 14th, 1922.


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