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Monday, 16 June 2014


Today is Bloomsday - the annual celebration of that mighty tome, Ulysses, and all things Joycean. 

This year is a special one too: it is the centenary of the publication of Dubliners, Joyce’s collection of short stories and a book that is far more approachable than his later works.

Joyce's grandniece with her Irish wolfhound, Finn, at the unveiling of a plaque
at 41 Brighton Square, James Joyce's birthplace, on Bloomsday 1964.

 For practical reasons, many of the Bloomsday events were scheduled over the weekend, but there will still be many people in period costumes eating liver for breakfast and traipsing off to Sandymount Beach and the Martello tower – before they start in on the pub crawling.

Bloomsday was initiated by Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien in 1954, when they visited the Martello tower, Davy Byrnes’ pub and Eccles St, reading extracts from Ulysses and drinking much alcohol along the way.

The Martello tower has since been preserved as a museum for Joyce, mainly thanks to the efforts of the voluntary group, the Friends of Joyce Tower Society. It is now called the James Joyce Tower and Museum, and is a mandatory stop for any literary tourist passing through Dublin.

Davy Byrne’s is still going strong, of course, and perhaps somewhere the literary tourist might head when they need to pause and reflect on the references, asides, puns and sheer wordiness contained between the covers of Ulysses. A cheese sandwich and a glass of burgundy wouldn’t go astray either.

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