“Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub,” muses Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s classic novel Ulysses. It’s a conundrum that has intrigued literary visitors to the city for years and, until now, frustrated them.
The Joycean quandary has just been solved by software developer Rory McCann, who came up with an algorithm to help him chart a pub-free route through Dublin’s streets. Starting by plotting out 30 points around the city’s canals, to represent the size Dublin would have been when Ulysses was published, he used data from the online editable map, OpenStreetMap, to pin down the locations of Dublin’s 1,000-plus pubs,. He then set his algorithm to work to find a winding path across the city that does not pass within 35m of a pub.”