Do you pay rent for this tower?
Twelve quid, Buck Mulligan said.
… Rather bleak in wintertime, I should say. Martello you call it?
Billy Pitt had them built, Buck Mulligan said, when the French were on the sea. But ours is the omphalos.
James Joyce spent six days staying with a couple of friends in a Martello tower in Sandy Cove, Dublin, in 1904, and later set the first chapter of his novel Ulysses there. Built during the Napoleonic era as a defensive position against a feared French invasion, the tower is one of a string of Martello towers in England, Ireland, and Wales.
Now known as the James Joyce Tower, it has been made into a museum, and furnished as it was during Joyce’s time there. For Joyce devotees who make the pilgrimage to visit it, the tower may indeed be an omphalos, a sacred conical object.