“One of the most tiresome duties was the six-hour night watch in the radio room. Little happened. Rarely was a telegram sent or received.  So, sitting there in my shorts, as the ship ploughed steadily through the blackness of the tropic night, I started to read Ulysses.”

One hot afternoon in Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, I sought refuge from the boiling tropical sun in a shaded bookshop. There, in one of the long (...)

Dolmen edition: Louis le Brocquy’s drawing of Joyce. Courtesy of Taylor Galleries, Dublin

This highly unified volume of short stories was mostly written in 1905, although it did not achieve publication until 1914. Since that year it has (...)

Sweny’s Pharmacy on Dublin’s Lincoln Place is where James Joyce’s Leopold Bloom stopped at about 11am on the morning of June 16th, 1904, to fill a prescription for his wife Molly and pick up some lemon soap before his Turkish bath. This small Joyce museum is now at risk of losing its UNESCO funding.  Photograph: Dan Griffin/The Irish Times 2:26

The volunteers in Sweny’s Pharmacy on Dublin’s Lincoln Place are busy wrapping bars of soap in preparation for the annual influx of Bloomsday customer(...)

Victim of war: James Joyce around 1918. Photograph: C Ruf/Archive/Getty

Joyce finished the first chapter of Ulysses on June 16th, 1915, and it could not have been easy. The Berlitz school where he was teaching closed indef(...)

The poet Patrick Kavanagh (left) and the critic Anthony Cronin outside Davy Byrne’s in Duke Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dermot Barry

Published: June 17th, 1954 So familiar is Bloomsday on the Dublin festival circuit that we take it for granted – while, perhaps, bemoaning its(...)

Joseph O’Connor: his advice  to an aspiring author? “Read Orwell. And get a job.” Photograph: Frank Miller

Joseph O’Connor is the author of eight novels: Cowboys and Indians (short-listed for the Whitbread Prize), Desperadoes, The Salesman, Inishowen, St(...)

“Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls.” Ulysses, James Joyce. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill
Eat your words
  • Books
  • May 15, 2014, 15:22

“I will marry you if you promise not to make me eat eggplant.” Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez “And once I had recognis(...)

The ultimate stereotype of yuppie greed and consumerism, Patrick Bateman was played by Christian Bale in the 2000 film adaptation of American Psycho
A series of unsaintly Patricks
  • Books
  • March 18, 2014, 15:33

Patrick Bateman The antihero narrator of American Psycho , Patrick Bateman couldn’t be further from a saint. Of wealthy New York stock, young Pat(...)

Catching a plane somewhere: the Irish have learned well how to be the same people in different places. Photograph: PA

It is something of a truism that Ireland badly needs a Plan B. In fact, we have Plan B and we’re very good at it. What we need is Plan A. We have no p(...)

One of the stone heads of Dublin Metropolitan policemen on Pearse Street Garda station, Dublin

The Garda Historical Society is inviting members of the public to bring artefacts associated with Ireland’s earliest police forces to Dublin Castle ne(...)