Wednesday 7 December 2016

Bloomsday celebrated with boaters and pork kidneys

Jane O'Faherty

Published 17/06/2016 | 07:00

John Kenny and Karen Carty in Meeting House Square
John Kenny and Karen Carty in Meeting House Square

Joycean disciples and dilettantes gathered in Dublin to celebrate James Joyce's seminal work 'Ulysses'.

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The classic novel, which recounts one day in the life of Dubliner Leopold Bloom, has captivated and confounded readers since it was first published fully in 1922.

From left, Brazilian students Larissa Buran, Barbara Novelli and Luana Bilhalva at Glasnevin Cemetery
From left, Brazilian students Larissa Buran, Barbara Novelli and Luana Bilhalva at Glasnevin Cemetery

But the work's complex nature didn't put off Nuala and Kate MacLoughlin from south Dublin, who arrived at the James Joyce Centre for an 8am serving of pork kidneys.

Head to toe in period costume, the pair have a deep affinity with the book - not least because of their father's appearance in the film adaptation.

"We're from a family that's been in Dublin for hundreds of years," Nuala told the Irish Independent.

"Our father is in the film of 'Ulysses', sitting on the steps of the National Library because he worked there at the time," she added.

Nuala also said that she first read 'Ulysses' while she was pregnant, prompting her to name her newborn daughter Molly after Bloom's iconic wife.

There were plenty of famous faces throwing themselves into the celebrations.

Senator and Joycean expert David Norris joined RTÉ's Keelin Shanley, chef Domini Kemp and Colm O'Gorman for impassioned readings in Meeting House Square.

Broadcasters Anne Doyle and Rick O'Shea were also among the many who took to Bloom's old stomping ground for the day.

Brazilians Paula Bugallo and Gabriel Merino
Brazilians Paula Bugallo and Gabriel Merino

Anne arrived into the city in a horse-drawn carriage on her way to pick up a traditional Joycean breakfast in Kennedy's pub on Westland Row.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, she called the experience "just fantastic".

"When the Viking Splash tour gives you a few toots, you know you're making a bit of a show of yourself," she added.

Glasnevin Cemetery hosted its own celebrations, with a staging of the 'Hades' chapter among its gravestones.

Jacqui O’Brien, Michael O’Brien, Anne Doyle and PJ Murphy in Kennedy’s pub.
Jacqui O’Brien, Michael O’Brien, Anne Doyle and PJ Murphy in Kennedy’s pub.

The odyssey of events concluded with the Bloomsday after-party in The Liquor Rooms. Designed to coincide with Bloom's nocturnal visit to the brothels of the Monto, the late-night event featured readings from Irish poets, as well as burlesque performances.

Mark Traynor, director of the Bloomsday Festival, said the event was continuing to grow.

Irish Independent

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