At the beginning of the 20th century Britain was still influenced by the cultural and propagandistic resonances of the 1888-three hundredth anniversary of the Spanish Armada held in different lands in the British Empire, especially in Plymouth and Devon. The nationwide homage given to the resounding “victory” of the English navy over Spain’s all-powerful Armada allowed British Victorian writers and historians to reaffirm the relevance of the event in 1588 as one of the initial stepping stones in the building of the British Empire. It was during the second half of the 19th century when the historical and literary publications that recreated the Armada’s fiasco in its English venture were aimed at the construction and consolidation of a God-given British global empire in a systematic and well-organised process of national and international reaffirmation of Britishness.
In 1912, James Joyce was trying to survive in the Italian/Austro-Hungarian city of Trieste on meagre incomes obtained both by teaching English and English literature to Italians and through travel journalism. The cost of Joyce’s four-week holiday in the west of Ireland from mid-July to mid-September 1912 with his partner Nora and their two small children in order to visit her family was in fact defrayed by his submission of a number of articles to Il Piccolo della Sera, the Italian language daily in Trieste, edited by his friend Roberto Prezioso. According to Ellmann (1982: 255), Joyce had been hired by Prezioso to write articles on British rule in Ireland so that the Piccolo della Sera’s Trieste readers could become aware of and learn about the evils of Austro-Hungarian imperialism. It was this newspaper where Joyce first wrote about the Spanish Armada, its connection with Galway and the shipwrecked Spaniards’ Irish ordeal. A decade later, he would once again refer to the tragedy of the Spanish fleet in Ulysses (1922) and nearly two decades later in Finnegans Wake (1939). The presence of the Spanish Armada in Joyce’s works, though never excessively prominent, was nevertheless regular enough, always in connection with imperialistic issues on Ireland.
In July 1912, the Joyces visited Galway. At Oughterard (Co. Galway), Joyce and Nora together visited the grave of Michael Bodkin, a young boy who had “died for her”, as alluded to in “The Dead” (1914) (O’Dowd 1999), as well as in the poem “She Weeps for Rahoon”, published in Pomes Penyeach (1927) (Burke 2016). To Joyce, Galway was a symbol of British Imperalism, the “other” Dublin, an “equivalent urban setting to that of Dublin” (Gladwin 2014: 181). Indeed, Galway has a relevant place in Joyce’s oeuvre. This city appears not only in his Italian travel journalism, but also in Dubliners, in The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in Pomes Penyeach, in Ulysses and in Finnegans Wake.
Joyce published an article titled “La città delle tribù: Ricordi italiani in un porto irlandese” (11/8/1912: 2, translated as “The city of the tribes; Italian memories in an Irish port”) in Il Piccolo della Sera. He wrote in it that lazy Dubliners, on finding dark-looking inhabitants in Galway, thought that these were Irish specimens of “the true Spanish type” (1912: 2), i.e., Irish men and women whose features corresponded to what is nowadays usually referred to as the “Black Irish”. Joyce described them as having “olive complexion and raven hair” (2). He did not attribute this Spanish type to the intermingling of the Spanish Armada’s shipwrecked soldiers and sailors and local Irish girls, as is popularly believed. He instead ascribed their “Latin” features to the close relationship existing historically between the locals and the Spanish merchants; so much so that, he added, “the inhabitants of Galway [are] of Spanish stock” (2). Whatever the real origin of these Spanish-looking inhabitants of Galway may have been, Joyce saw Galway as a “Spanish city” and thus he labelled it. Indeed, from the Middle Ages onwards the western Irish city had maintained a close commercial relationship with Spain (including the Canary Islands), trading with northern Spanish ports in wine and fish mainly. Even Joyce mentions in the “Cyclops” chapter in Ulysses that Spain sold wine to Galway and that King Philip of Spain was prepared “to pay customs duties for the right to fish in our [Irish] waters” (U12.1310).
Joyce also adds in this Piccolo della Sera article that, contrary to what Dubliners usually believed (and he was one of them too), the Spanish type was, then in 1912, already rare in Galway. According to Gladwin (2014: 184), Joyce used the travel journalism that resulted from his journeys in the area for a moderate (i.e. far from radically nationalistic) portrayal of the current state of Ireland’s relationship with Britain. According to Murphy (2018: 2), Joyce was not openly sympathetic to British rule in Ireland, but he was clearly unwilling to challenge the colonial status quo. The Spanish type of part of the population of Galway, already on the wane, the old Spanish houses of the city, now in ruins, the existence of numerous wrecks of Spanish Armada vessels on its coast and the scattering of hundreds of stranded Spaniards in the whereabouts of Galway in 1588 were described by Joyce as symbols of Spain’s decadence that had begun in the early modern period, and of the victorious presence of the British Empire in post-Victorian Ireland (Gladwin 2014: 185).
As the result of Joyce’s holiday in the west of Ireland, he began to show a new interest in autocthonous Irish life and folklore. While on their Galway stay in September 1912, Joyce spent two days on the Aran Islands. In September 1912, he published yet another article in Il Piccolo della Sera titled “Il Miraggio del Pescatore di Aran. La Valvola dell’ Inghiterra in Caso di Guerra” (5/9/1912, translated as “The Mirage of the Fisherman of Aran. England’s Safety Valve in Case of War, 1912”), based on his personal reflections on Galway Bay and the Aran Islands. Now he directed his pen to the narration of “the unfortunate Spanish Armada” and to the conduct of the Irish population of Galway in that fateful year of 1588, of which he wrote:
Beneath the waters of this bay [Galway Bay] and along its coast lie the wrecks of a squadron of the unfortunate Spanish Armada. After their defeat in the English Channel, the ships set sail for the North, where the storms and the waves scattered them. The citizens of Galway, remembering the long friendship between Spain and Ireland, hid the fugitives from the vengeance of the English garrison and gave the shipwrecked a decent burial wrapping their bodies in white linen cloth. (1912: 2)
I follow Cheng (1995) when he states that Joyce wrote insistently from the perspective of a colonial subject of an oppressive empire and was naturally concerned with British Imperialism in his native Ireland. Cheng is in fact of the belief that the episode of the Spanish Armada is useful to explain part of Joyce’s concern about invasion/empire and colonialism (1995: 264). As mentioned above, the wreckage of a number of the Spanish Armada vessels along the western Irish coast is evidence of Galway’s contribution to the early days of the victorious advance of the British Empire (Rogers 2012: 258). But in this new Piccolo della Sera article, Joyce, arguably a “West-Briton” at heart, showed that he had accepted and assimilated the myth of the Armada’s “defeat” from an openly British standpoint. According to British historiographers, as was publicly and “officially” corroborated in the 1888-tercentenary celebrations and in their subsequent pro-English publications, the Armada enterprise had been an uncontested and decisive victory of the English navy and a shameful defeat for the Spanish. However, as for the image of Galway in the context of the Armada episode in Ireland, Joyce, as I will endeavour to prove, intentionally disguised historical reality in order to present the city’s people in the most favourable manner to his Italian readers. Joyce had learnt about Galway’s conduct in 1588 from well-established 19th century sources on the city, but made a few adaptations in his Italian articles to suit his needs, that is, to embellish the international image of Nora’s hometown.
According to McCourt (2018), the information on Galway and the Spanish Armada that Joyce provided in his travel articles was recollected from his reading of James Hardiman’s History of the Town and County of Galway, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, Embellished with Several Engravings (1820) and from Oliver Joseph Burke’s The South Isles of Aran (County Galway) (1887). Having consulted Burke’s book as well as J. M. Synge’s travel account The Aran Islands (1907), these being two examples of works that Joyce presumably knew, nothing has been found on the Spanish Armada in the Aran Islands. However, Joyce did read in Hardiman’s book about the cruel butchering of about two hundred Spaniards and Portuguese who were executed by a Fowle, deputy marshal, in summary manner, near St Augustin’s monastery in Galway following orders given by Sir William Fitz-Williams, Lord Deputy of Ireland (Hardiman, 1820, 94). However, Joyce did not repeat this information from Hardiman’s book in his Italian articles. Hardiman (94) had also affirmed that only two of the captured Spaniards escaped death on this occasion and that they were concealed for a long time in Galway and were safely conveyed to Spain. But Joyce said nothing of the kind either. The origin of the positive view of Galwegians portrayed by Joyce aside, his moderate Irishness is perceivable in the amiable view of Galway’s alleged humane treatment of the Spanish castaways in 1588 that he endeavours to depict in his Italian article. After all, was not Joyce’s partner Nora from Galway?
Joyce claimed in Il Piccolo della Sera that 16th-century Galway had generously favoured the Spanish fugitives after the shipwrecking of a number of their vessels on the nearby shores by hiding them from the English soldiers and by giving them decent burials when they were executed. He attributed the kindness of the Irish of Galway with the Spanish castaways to the old friendship existing between Spain and Galway due to their long historical connections. He also alluded in his article to the misfortune that befell the Armada’s vessels and crews in Ireland from the action of the storms and waves, thus partly hiding a shameful reality of Ireland’s past: that the Irish, especially the Protestant Irish, did not welcome the Spanish refugees so warmly and so hospitably as Joyce implied. In fact, many of them, including those Irishmen and women inhabiting Galway in 1588, allowed the elimination of three to four hundred Spanish castaways as the result of the city’s lack of action against the Elizabethan English authorities to stop the massacre.
Indeed, in 1588 the city of Galway had proved either more inclined to support the English or rather indifferent towards the tragic fate of the Spaniards, regardless of the dynamic trade that had traditionally existed between northern Spain and the Irish town. The order given by the Calvinist Sir William Fitzwilliam (1526-99), the then English Lord Deputy of Ireland, a former participant of the English army who had aided the Dutch in the Low Countries years before, was to unmercifully kill every Spaniard caught on the island and this was followed to the letter. Fitzwilliam, fearing a fully-fledged Spanish invasion, commanded that all Spaniards captured on the island should summarily be hanged and anyone giving a Spaniard aid or shelter should be charged with treason to the Crown and tortured. The Second Desmond Rebellion (1579-83) against Elizabeth I’s English armies in Ireland was still too recent. The Armada prisoners retained in Galway were taken to the whereabouts of the Augustinian friary on the outskirts of the town and put to death there. The prosperous city of Galway had its hands tied as to its capacity to defend the wretched prisoners without paying dearly for it.
However, the English slaughter of Spaniards in Galway softened the hearts of its population. According to Joyce, the executed Spaniards were given their Christian burials and the local women made the necessary linen for their interment. Following Hardiman’s book again, Joyce reproduces in his second Piccolo della Sera article a reference to the general sadness of the Galway people about the Spanish victims’ fate. From Hardiman Joyce learnt about the mass beheading carried out by the English, which, he adds, took place “amid the murmurs and lamentations of the people” (1820: 94); but then he also failed to mention any critical reference to the brutality of the English executions of the Spaniards. Hardiman, Joyce’s main informer on Galway issues, had taken the information about the executions of the Spaniards and the charity of the Galway women from John Lynch’s Vita Kirovani (1669, 8-9). But in his article Joyce only maintained Hardiman’s reference to the Galway ladies’ charitable burial work.
Both Joyce’s idea of the Spanish Armada’s defeat and the narration of the kind behaviour of Galway’s Irish men and women (especially the latter) towards the shipwrecked Spaniards as mentioned in his two articles are far from being completely correct. Joyce’s belief in the collapse of the Spanish navy had been imbued in him via British historiography, which insisted on the idea of the beginning of the historical decline of the Spanish Empire as the result of the defeat of the Armada in 1588. His belief in the alleged Spanish decadence from 1588 onwards, usually given full shape in British history and literature during the last third of the 19th century (i.e, by historians and literati such as Froude, 1856-70, 1870-93 and 1892; Wylie, 1874-77 and 1888; Little, 1888; etc.), was depicted in his second Italian article through the symbol of the failure of the Armada and its tragedy in Galway. This persistent idea of Spain’s decay as epitomized by the Armada fiasco was transferred to Ulysses (1922), published one decade later. This is perceived in the way that he describes the fate of the Armada in his novel.
Indeed, Joyce’s first allusions to Spain in Ulysses are connected to the shipwrecks of the Spanish Armada in Ireland and to the collapse of the Spanish Empire and to the subsequent rising of the British one. The Armada is in fact twice referred to in the novel. Both allusions to the Armada appear inevitably modified by the participle/adjective “lost”. Stephen Dedalus, who described himself as a loyal civil servant of the British administration in Ireland, is walking pensively on the beach at Sandymount Strand, in Dublin Bay, stepping on pebbles and on “wood sieved by the shipworm, lost Armada” (U3.149). Further on in Ulysses, the same character also alludes to Shakespeare’s mocking attitude towards the Spanish fleet in one of his comedies by referring to “the lost armada is his jeer in Love’s Labour’s Lost” (U196.28). Evidently, the image of the “lost Armada”, that is, of the defeated Armada, has become an established collocation in Joyce’s literary prose when referring to the Spanish fleet. The phrase “lost Armada” implies the writer’s firm belief in the complete disaster of the main icon of the Spanish Empire’s power, its navy.
In an early draft of Finnegans Wake dated in 1923 (“Pre-work in progress”), Joyce mentions “the scattering of the flemish armada off the coasts of Galway and Longford”, as one of Ireland’s main historical events in the eyes of the “Four Waves [i.e. Wives] of Erin”. In the definitive Finnegans Wake of 1939 the reference to the Armada episode was changed to “the Flemish armada, all scattered, and all officially drowned, there and then (…)” (FW.388.10-11). According to Cheng (1995: 264), the Armada that Joyce referred to in both cases was the Flemish navy which invaded Ireland in 1169. However, Joyce could well be thinking of the Spanish Armada of 1588 instead, for “the Armada of Flanders” was the name of the Spanish naval unit effectively in charge of defending Spain’s empire in the 17th century (Stradling, 1992). The two “scattering” references to the Armada in Finnegans Wake and its earlier draft connect the Spanish defeat to the biblical motto employed on the English and Dutch medals issued in the 16th century to commemorate the Spanish/Catholic failed attempt to invade England thanks to the Protestant God’s participation in the successful defence of Protestant England from her foes: “God’s wind blew and they were scattered”.
I cannot but conclude that, after Joyce’s reading of Hardiman’s work on Galway, he voluntarily or involuntarily opted for the acceptance of Britain’s presence in Ireland as proof of its rising imperial power in the context of post-Victorian Britain (or pre-WWI), aided by Little’s, Wylie’s and Froude’s historiographical perception of the defeat of Spain’s navy. Thus, he depicted it in his travel articles in the Italian press and in his fiction years later. Joyce had fully interiorized the Gran Armada’s role in the construction of the historical narration of the British Empire and thus he conveyed it in his works. On the other hand, Joyce consciously made the point of portraying Galway in connection with the fate of a number of Spanish Armada vessels. He insisted in presenting Galway’s population in 1588 as completely innocent of the Spaniards’ tragedy, thus implying that the local Irishmen and women of the city were rather uncollaborative with the English rulers of early modern Ireland, even when this had not been really the case. Joyce sought to give Italians a view of Britain’s imperialistic presence in Ireland. It is also clear that he endeavoured to offer a personal view of the innocent behaviour of the Irish folk of the city of Galway, the birthplace of his beloved Nora. He appears to have wanted to convey in his Italian writings his mild Irish patriotism. He did so by depicting an only moderate defiant attitude of the Irish people towards their English rulers.
 The tercentenary of the victory of the English fleet over the Gran Armada was fully celebrated in 1888 both nationally and internationally within the British Empire, as is evidenced, for instance, in The Tercentenary of England’s Great Victory over Spain and the Armada, 1588-1888 (1888), by the Canadian Rev. James Little. Little made a selection of earlier texts related to the defeat of the Armada (Hume, Macaulay, Camden, Froude, Aikens, etc.). Through this selection his declared intention was to pay homage to the English heroes and their descendants (i.e., the citizens of the British Empire), “who won the heritage of freedom and independence which has fallen to their children” (1888: iv). The book is especially intended for “the young of this large family, the great Anglo-Saxon household” (iv).
 The British historiography of the 19th century contributed to British imperialistic propaganda through several gigantic works. The multifarious and prolific English novelist, scholar, poet and editor James Anthony Froude (1818-94) authored History of England from Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth (1856-70), later updated as History of England from Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada (1870-93; reedited in 1895, 1899, and 1907). Froude prepared a more popular version of the history of the Armada for a less highbrow readership: The Spanish Story of the Armada and Other Essays (1892). In his vehement anti-popery campaign, the then influential Scottish Presbyterian minister and historian James Aitken Wylie (1808-90) reproduced Camden’s pro-English account of the Armada in the three volumes of his giant History of Protestantism (1874-77) and enthusiastically contributed to expanding the idea of the Armada’s defeat as an overwhelming victory of Protestantism over Roman Catholicism. Wylie’s contribution in the promotion of the notable role of the English fleet in the preservation of Protestant England was further reaffirmed in 1888 with his influential The Spanish Armada: 1588 Being an Account of the Events Preceding, and a Concise Narrative of the Defeat of the Spanish Armada .
 Joyce gave private English lessons to Trieste’s upper classes, including the children of the Austrio-Hungarian governor of the city. In March 1912, he gave a series of lectures at the Università Popolare entitled “Verismo ed idealismo nella letteratura inglese: Daniele De Foe e William Blake”. He took up a post at the Scuola Revoltella Superiori de Commercio in 1913, but continued afternoon lessons at the homes of his pupils. He also lectured on Hamlet at the Università Popolare between November 1912 and February 1913 (Steward, 2007; accessed 13/04/2022).
 The other Galway and Dublin is (Spanish) Gibraltar (Brown 2017).
 “black Irish adj. and n. sometimes derogatory (a) adj. describing an Irish person, or one of Irish ancestry, having dark hair and a dark complexion or eyes; (b) n (with plural agreement and the) such people collectively” (Oxford English Dictionary, https://www–oed–com.ujaen.debiblio.com/view/Entry/19670?redirectedFrom=black+irish#eid189407644; accessed 15/08/2022).
 According to Murphy, “Joyce was what Molly Ivors in “The Dead” calls Gabriel Conroy, a West Briton” (2018: 12).
 These two Spaniards must have been Don Luis de Córdoba and his nephew, of the “Falcón Blanco Mediano”, who paid a huge amount of money to have their lives spared (Kelly 2020).
 The whole decree may be consulted in Martin and Parker (1988: 235).
 The three to four hundred Spanish victims in Galway came from different Armada vessels. The sixty Spaniards from the cargo ship “El Ciervo Volante” who had survived McCabb’s axe-orgy were sent to Galway. The English imprisoned another fifty when the ship “Nuestra Señora de Begoña” sent a boat to Galway to look for provisions and water for their brothers-in-arms. There were another thirty-four Spaniards from the “Gran Grin” wreck in Clare Island who had survived a first attack of the O’Malley clan. O’Malley’s prisoners were taken to Galway too. Another ninety-two prisoners came from the “Santa Barbara”, a small cargo ship that had foundered at Mace Head; its crew was handed to the English by the local chieftain. There were also another thirteen survivors of the “Rata Santa María Encoronada” who had foundered at Tullaham Bay; another ninety from the “Falcón Blanco Mediano” who had shipwrecked on the small island of Freaghhillaum South; and another nine came from the “San Nicolás Prodanelic”, a Regusan ship that wrecked at either the Peninsula of Corraun or Ross Port; originally there were sixty-nine survivors, but sixty were murdered on the spot as soon as they set foot on Irish soil and only nine were left alive to be transported to Galway (Kelly 2020).
 Today they lie in Galway’s Forthill Cemetery. For more information on the Forthill Cemetery in Galway and the plaques dedicated to the massacre of the three hundred Spaniards, see https://historicgraves.com/graveyard/forthill/ga-fohi (accessed 7/3/2020). As soon as one enters Forthill Cemetery one finds a plaque dedicated by “La Orden del Tercio Viejo del Mar Océano”, the oldest marine corps in the world, to the Gran Armada’s sailors and soldiers who were laid to rest there in 1588 by the local inhabitants of Galway. The plaque includes the key dates “1588” and “1988” and is headed at the top by the cross and emblem of the Spanish order of St James. It was displayed on June 22, 1988 and it is written in Spanish, but the “Requiem in pace” message at its lower end is also expressed in Gaelic: “Ar Dheis de Go Raibh Siad”. In the said cemetery, there is also another wall tablet in English in front to commemorate the same event, with a more detailed explanation on the circumstances that led the three hundred unfortunate Armada sailors and soldiers to their deaths. The “requiem in pace” motto is written both in Gaelic and in Spanish.
 John Lynch was the pseudonym of Gratianus Lucius (c.1599-c.1677), Irish historian born in Galway and archdeacon of Tuam.
 Astronomi longe ante praesagierunt quae in partem classis Hispanicae invincibilis tunc vulgo dictae, naufragium ad Hiberniae litora passam, immaniter saeuit, eius enim vectores e feri maris fluctibus eluctari, multo feriorem hostem in terris offenderunt, nempe Proregem Hiberniae Gilielmus Fits Williamo, cuius issu eorum plerique obtruncati sunt, Regina Saeuitiam facinoris damnante. Prorex tamen Hispaniorum bona naufragio eiecta indagat, & rigide exigit, eoque nomine nonnullos ut hispaniarum fautores incarcerat, inter alia turbulentis motibus, qui postea proruperunt, ocassio data et accepta fuit. Hispani Galuiam procellis abrepti, eo excidio perierunt, omnibus enim ad extramam lucam animase ineundam, Hispani Augustiani, quem a sacris habuerunt, concione incitatis, ac deinde ad collem S. Augustini, monasterio tunc ornatum vrbi ab austro imminentem aductis, ceruices excisae sunt; matronis Galuiensibus singula cadauere syndone inuoluentibus: accepimus duos tantum Hispanos huic exitio subductos, Galuiae diu latitasse, & in parriam tandem incolumes inuasisse. My translation: Astronomers long ago foresaw a shipwreck that was terribly unleashed on the shores of Ireland by a part of what was then commonly called the invincible Spanish Armada. The viceroy of Ireland, William Fits William (sic), gave the order of execution of the majority, condemning the Queen for the cruelty of the crime. The viceroy, however, investigated the assets of the Spanish washed ashore by the shipwreck, carried out a severe repression and jailed some people as supporters of the Spanish. The Spanish were brought to Galway by storms and perished by them. The Spaniards, protected by the Augustinians, whom they had kept in sacred assembly, were captured and later on the hill of Saint Augustine, by the monastery decorated for the occasion, were brought in from the south and their throats cut. Each of the Galway matrons wrapped their corpses in fine linen. We have heard that only two Spaniards brought here by the catastrophe were hidden for a long time in Galway and finally returned to their homeland unharmed.
 For the transcription of the early 1923 draft of Finnegans Wake (in Nora’s handwriting following Joyce’s dictation), purchased from Alexis Léon by the National Library of Ireland, Department of Manuscripts, see http://peterchrisp.blogspot.com/2020/10/the-four-waves-of-erin-nora-barnacle.html (accessed 15/08/2022). For more information on this draft, labelled as “Pre-work in progress”, see Groden (2003).
 Longford is a town in the centre of Ireland devoid therefore of any sea coasts.
 Anderson (2013: 74) believes that Joyce considers “Armada” stood for “armed” and “mad”.
 This same motto was also used in 1888 on the Plymouth Armada Memorial, created by the architect Herbert Augustine Keate Gribble (1847-94) and the sculptor William Charles May (1853-1931), that was built on the Plymouth Hoe to celebrate the tercentenary commemoration of the Spanish Armada’s defeat.