Joyce – the Student

University College Dublin, 1898-1902

James Joyce was a student at University College Dublin (UCD) from 1898-1902. Following a Jesuit education in Clongowes Wood and Belvedere College, the sixteen-year-old Joyce entered university as a devout Catholic, and an exceptionally bright and popular boy. During his years at UCD, he underwent profound change, spiritually and philosophically. He abandoned his Catholic practices and came to the belief that his education was exclusively his own responsibility.

James Joyce is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most celebrated writers, and his contribution to modern English literature is exceptional. Much has been written about his life, though very little information is known about his years as a university student. In this newly published book, Professor John Kelly explores archival material and traces Joyce’s time as a student. Kelly’s work shines a light on the political and social factors at play in UCD during these formative years, and how they contributed to the young Joyce’s development.

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Praise for this publication:

As a former Auditor of the Literary and Debating Society at University College Galway, who didn’t have to censor his addresses, I love the book’s account of Joyce’s different experience“.

Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland


‘Joyce the Student’ is an insightful recounting of the formative years James Joyce spent at University College Dublin. Painting a gripping picture of the nature of Irish society in the early 1900s and the politics and religion of University College, and delving into the various characters who inspired Joyce’s writings, this book is a great read. Often drawing from the words of Joyce himself, Emeritus Professor John Kelly takes us on a literary journey which creates an appreciation the genesis of one of the greatest writers the world has seen. Painstakingly researched and artfully constructed, this is a book anyone with an interest in Joyce or Ireland should not miss.

Professor Andrew J Deeks, 9th President, University College Dublin


A very interesting gathering together of biographical material on Joyce“.

Senator David Norris

“A valuable new insight into the life and times of the younger Joyce”.
Dr Niall Holohan