This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 14 December, 2019

Dublin pharmacy made famous by James Joyce fundraising to help cover increased rent

Sweny’s Pharmacy, located at 1 Lincoln Place in Dublin 2, first opened in 1847.

90344336_90344336 Volunteer PJ Murphy standing outside Sweny's Chemist in Dublin Source: Sam Boal via PA Images

A 172-YEAR-OLD Dublin chemist which featured in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses has begun fundraising to help pay for its rent after it was significantly increased. 

Sweny’s Pharmacy, located at 1 Lincoln Place in Dublin 2, first opened in 1847. Its interior has been unchanged since.

Since 2009, Sweny’s has been entirely maintained by volunteers who give their time for free, dedicated to preserving the soul of the shop as it was in Joyce’s time. 

Every day, the volunteers host open readings from Joyce’s work in the building. 

They also inform visitors about the history of the shop and of Dublin, and sell the same lemon soap which Leopold Bloom buys in Ulysses. 

90344364_90344364 Inside Sweny's Pharmacy in Dublin Source: Sam Boal via

Up until last year, the chemist was able to pay the rent out of soap sales and visitors’ donations. 

However, Sweny’s has said the rent was doubled last July, meaning that it increased by approximately €1,500 per month.

In order to be able to keep up with the increased rent, the pharmacy has set up a Patreon account to raise money.

For creators, Patreon is a way to get paid for creating the things they’re already creating. For patrons (people who sign up to donate), Patreon is a way to support and pay the creators for making their products. 

90344346_90344346 Beverley and Stanley Mc Bride from Melbourne Austrailia, Rory Nolan from Wexford and volunteer PJ Murphy standing inside Sweny's Pharmacy Source: Sam Boal via

Speaking of what it would mean if the shop was to shut down, volunteer PJ said: “It would have a huge impact because it’s a great, fun place to be in and to be working in because you get people from all over the world. 

“We made many friendships in the past 10 years.” 

PJ added that the shop gets a lot of international media attention, which helps attract visitors. He said that just before his chat with, two young German students who had seen Sweny’s Pharmacy in German media had visited store. 

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel