An Post launches new stamps to celebrate centenary of Ulysses

Stamps inspired by ‘Gilbert Schem’ - tables Joyce produced to help friends understand book

An Post has launched two new stamps to celebrate the centenary of the publication of James Joyce's celebrated novel Ulysses.

The Ulysses 100 stamps from An Post were designed by Amsterdam-based Irish designers, the Stone Twins.

Ulysses was initially published as a series of stories in an American journal and was first published as a complete novel on February 2nd, 1922 – James Joyce’s 40th birthday.

The book chronicles a single day, June 16th, 1904, now celebrated as Bloomsday, in the lives of Stephen Dedalus along with husband-and-wife Leopold and Molly Bloom as they meander through the streets and suburbs of Dublin.


The stamps are inspired by Joyce’s use of the ‘Gilbert Schema’, two elaborate tables he produced to help friends understand his novel.

The two-stamp design consists of a total of 18 sections, which signify the number of chapters in the book.

The stamp design also features photographs by JJ Clarke, a doctor from Castleblayney in Co Monaghan who took vivid images of daily life in Dublin when he was a medical student in the city between 1897 and 1904.

The inverted type used in the stamp design was chosen to reflect Joyce’s experimental use of language.

An Post expects “strong interest in the Ulysses 100 stamps at home and abroad from collectors, the Joycean community, and those with an interest in literature.”

A specially designed souvenir envelope features a JJ Clarke photograph of 14-18 Ormond Quay Lower and Swifts Row, taken from the South Quays and featuring the River Liffey. It also features both of the Ulysses 100 stamps and a special cancellation mark.

Chief executive of An Post, David McRedmond, said Ulysses’ 100th anniversary “shows that Ulysses is as relevant now as a work of art as when it was written. These stamps reflect the unique mix of modernism and classicism that define the novel.”

"Frozen in time the images on these stamps illustrate remarkably the period of James Joyce's Ulysses in 1904. It is tempting to think that in the world of fiction these stamps might have adorned Bloom's letter to Martha Clifford, " Senator David Norris said.

The Ulysses 100 stamps and a special First Day Cover commemorative envelope are available at selected post offices nationwide and online at