Borumborad, Achmet (Joyce, Patrick)
His presence in Dublin was first noted in 1769, when he was probably operating a medical practice of sorts (though no records attest to any recognised qualification) and promoting the healing properties of steam baths in Finglas, Co. Dublin. Regularly walking the streets of Dublin, with a prominent beard and what was perceived to be full Turkish dress, he ingratiated himself with the polite society of the city. Anxious to promote a scheme for establishing hot and cold sea-water baths in the city, he received widespread support from the medical community and successfully and repeatedly lobbied parliament for financial support. Opening on Bachelor's Quay in October 1771, the baths, a section of which were made available free to the poor, were a success with the city's elite, and plans to expand were mooted in 1772. To this end, Joyce published an edition of Charles Lucas's (qv), The theory and use of baths . . . with marginal notes by Dr Achmet (Dublin, 1772). However, while holding his annual pre-session reception for members of the Irish parliament some time in the mid 1770s, a farcical set of circumstances (seemingly many of the assembled politicians fell into one of the baths) led to his falling out of favour with the capital's elite; and without the necessary parliamentary grant the baths closed.
After falling in love and marrying the sister of a ‘surgeon Hartigan’, Joyce declared his real identity and thereafter disappears from the record apart from being named (1782) as an heir to the estate of William Gregg of Parkmount, Co. Antrim, who requested ‘that if the said Achmet Brombodad [sic] shall at any time change his name that he shall take the name of William Gregg in remembrance of me’ (NLI, MS 143). Briefly mentioned by James Joyce (qv) in Finnegans wake as an Indian sahib and aural surgeon (part 3, episode 14), he is chiefly remembered from the lively treatment he received from Jonah Barrington (qv) in Personal sketches and recollections (1853). Joyce was no more than an opportunist seeking to make his fortune by elaborate means, a far from unusual human characteristic, and a common career path in the eighteenth century.