‘Ulysses’ brought to life across the globe
Bloomsday marked across world by marathon reading of James Joyce’s masterpiece
Participants in the Bloomsday World Record attempt which took place outside Dunphy’s pub, George’s Street, Dún Laoghaire. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Members of the Fox Family enjoying the Bloomsday festivities in Dun Laoghaire. Pictured are Anthony, Sofia (8), Leanne, Julia (5) and Eleanor (11) Fox. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times
Leopold Bloom may have eaten “with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls”, but the Ulysses fans gathered for a special Bloomsday breakfast at the James Joyce Centre in Dublin this morning came more for the entertainment than the food.
As 40 guests picked their way around the grilled mutton kidneys which gave Bloom’s palate “a fine tang of faintly scented urine” in Joyce’s novel, actors Les Doherty, Elaine Reddy and John O’Donoghue brought Ulysses scenes to life around them. Between vignettes, Sinead Murphy and Darina Gallagher performed jaunty musical numbers featured in Ulysses, such as Those Lovely Seaside Girls and My Girl’s a Yorkshire Girl.
“The breakfast was held in the Gresham for a number of years, but it is back in the centre this year, which is the right place for it,” said Bob Joyce, grandnephew of the author and a director at the James Joyce Centre on North Great George’s Street, who attended the first of three breakfast sittings at 8am this morning with other members of the Joyce family.
“It is really pleasing to see how many young people are taking part in the celebrations now. It is a very civilised day. I think if James Joyce was still here, he would love to take part. He loved anniversaries.”
Nancy O’Donnell (63), a retired accountant from Wisconsin who was at the second breakfast with her husband John (70), has been looking forward to the day for months. The couple were accompanied by 13 other members of the Sierra Club, an American environmental group, who are in Dublin as part of a two-week literary tour of Ireland.
“I am an enormous Joyce fan, so being in Dublin for Bloomsday is just a dream for me,” she said. “I’m a vegetarian so the food was a little difficult, but the entertainment was terrific this morning. We are going to hit as many Bloomsday events as we possibly can today.”
Rolf Jester (64), a market researcher from Australia, also timed his week-long trip to Ireland with his wife to coincide with Bloomsday.
“I am a Joyce fanatic, and would usually mark the day in some way at home. It is not a big event in Australia, but it is catching on,” he said, rising from the breakfast table to get ready to take a walking tour of Joyce’s Dublin.
Celebrating a single day
Walking and cycling tours, re-enactments, talks and music recitals celebrating the writer and his works have been taking place all around Dublin today.
Writer Dermot Bolger hosted a series of readings and songs from Ulysses at Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, featuring contributions from the actor Frank Kelly, novelist John Boyne, and United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett, who performed a reading with his birth mother, the actress Sinéad Cusack.