Bloomsday Fun

This literary post is for all you readers out there who always wanted to learn more about the Irish author James Joyce, and for all of you who decided long ago that you did NOT want to know anything about him.

James Joyce is famous for his use of the stream-of-consciousness writing technique, and he used it in many of his books and short stories. Perhaps his most famous novel is a very famous, very long, very impossible to read book entitled Ulysses, which, among other things, is about a man named Leopold Bloom and what happens during one day as he walks about Dublin. The google version of this book is over 1200 pages I believe. Anyway, the day on which the book is set is June 16, 1904, and every June 16 is a celebrated semi-holiday in Dublin called Bloomsday. So, dedicated literary sorts walk around the city and stop at all the places where Leopold stopped in the book; many of them still exist, while others have plaques on their fronts commemorating the book. Alita, Nina, Jason, and I did one of these literary walks. We also attended a reading of portions of Ulysses (in several different languages including French, Spanish, Finnish, and the Ambassador from Lesotho read in her language–don’t know the name of it) at which several different readers made the joke that they needed the book to be translated into English–haha, very funny you cornballs, but oh so true. Throughout the day we kept running into funnily dressed people who were also celebrating this Joycean holiday, wearing turn-of-the-century clothing. It was especially amusing to see these folks talking on their cell phones while in costume. See below photos.

After a delicious supper at Wagamama (Thai-inspired food) we attended a 90-minute monologue play from the character of Molly Bloom, Leopold’s wife. She was dressed in pajamas because the scene takes place at night while she is trying to fall asleep and she is thinking/talking to herself. It was a very interesting monologue, but, as you can imagine, 90 minutes is a bit long to listen to one person talk without stopping, even when her breast does come out of her pajamas for a brief, accidental moment (whoa!). The actress was simply amazing, but even so, Jason and Nina both had a hard time staying awake.

Bloomsday ended with us meeting Paul and an old friend of Paul and Alita’s at a local pub to hear some traditional Irish music: there were cool-looking flute thingies and loads of guitars. The singers had very husky, original Irish voices, and they sang many songs that Paul has grown up hearing. What came as a surprise was when they broke into “Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong . . . West Virginia, mountain mama . . .” To sum up the whole day: weird, but cool.

Alita, Jason, and Jen listen to the Ulysses readings

Man dressed as Leopold Bloom talking on phone (hiding behind shrubbery)

Walking around Dublin