Monday, June 16, 2014

James Joyce turns up in Dublin to celebrate Bloomsday


James Joyce is alive and well today in Dublin. He has surfaced in multiple incarnations and numerous places to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Bloomsday. That’s the day -- June 16, 1904 – during which the action of Ulysses unfolds in what Joyce called “dear, dirty Dublin.” Rambling around the city today, everywhere we went, we encountered people tricked out in Edwardian gear, playing characters in the novel – Leopold and Molly Bloom, Stephen Dedalus – but also looking like Joyce himself in middle age, when he wrote his masterpiece. The James Joyce Centre has been celebrating all week, running Joycean walking tours and talks, marking the 100th
 
anniversary (also this year) of the publication of Dubliners, and – would you believe it? – sponsoring a Joycean Literary Pub Crawl. The main photo on the front page of today’s Irish Times features two women participating in an egg-and-spoon race as part of a Bizarre Bloomsday Brunch, and on Page 7 we discover another   page-dominating colour photo from the festivities, this one deriving from a street event mounted by the Here Comes Everybody Players from Boston, Mass. At that point, we’re shading into Finnegans Wake (no apostrophe), which features a Here-Comes-Everybody refrain that is beginning to look prophetic. The Times also reveals that dancer Michael Flatley, the Irish-American star of the original Riverdance, owns the bronze medal won by Joyce in a singing competition in Dublin in 1904. 
An urban myth had him throwing it into the River Liffey in a fit of pique. As we wandered from the James Joyce Centre to Davy Byrne’s Pub, checking out bookstore displays and sundry shenanigans, Sheena Fraser McGoogan snapped photos.

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