Michael Bodkin

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For the GAA inter-county referee, see Michael Bodkin (referee).

Michael Bodkin (c. 1879 – 11 February 1900) was the inspiration for Michael Furey in James Joyce's short story The Dead.

Michael 'Sonny' Bodkin was a descendant of The Tribes of Galway, and lived at No. 2 Prospect Hill, where his family ran a shop. He worked as a clerk in the local Gas Company, and a student Galway University. Nora Barnacle, aged fifteen, fell deeply in love with him. He reciprocated, giving her a present of a bracelet. However, Bodkin contracted tuberculosis and died. He was buried in Rahoon Cemetery just outside the town.

Joyce used Nora's reminiscences of Bodkin, and another deceased friend - Michael Feeney - to create the character of Michael Furey in his acclaimed short story "The Dead," while the character of Gretta Conroy is modelled on Nora. The story was adapted for film in 1987 by John Huston.

Memorial plaque[edit]

On 16 June 1996 - Bloomsday - Mayor of Galway Michael O'hUiginn unveilled a plaque on the facade of Richardson's Bar, which reads:

James Joyce's world famous short story 'The Dead' was inspired by the sad tale of his wife, Galway woman Nora Barnacle, whose first love, Michael Bodkin (Furey) lived in this building and died in 1900 'for love'. His sister, Irene Lynch, was alive as of May 2011.


  • Nora - A biography of Nora Joyce, Brenda Maddox, 1988.
  • James Joyce's 'The Dead' and its Galway Connections, Peadar O'Dowd, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 51, 1999, pp. 189–193.

External links[edit]