Sunday 24 September 2017

Epic story goes round the world in 33 hours

Hal Ledford from Dalkey, Jonathan Aguiard (7) from Monkstown during a world record attempt for the largest gathering of James Joyces lookalikes in one location as part of Bloomsday celebrations at Dunphy’s Pub, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
Hal Ledford from Dalkey, Jonathan Aguiard (7) from Monkstown during a world record attempt for the largest gathering of James Joyces lookalikes in one location as part of Bloomsday celebrations at Dunphy’s Pub, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
James Joyce character admiring his breakfast at the annual Bloomsday breakfast at James Joyce Centre, North Great Georges Street
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

James Joyce penned his epic novel 'Ulysses' about a simple day-long stroll around his native city, from his places of exile in Zurich, Trieste and Paris.

And this international perspective took on a brand-new 21st-Century slant when Leopold Bloom's journey went transglobal for the first time in a special 'Gathering' event.

Between them, readers in 15 countries across the world polished off the entire volume in relays over the course of just over 33 hours.

Starting in Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday night and heading steadily across the world, the 'Ulysses' reading bounced from the west coast of America to finally finish up in Boston.

The Irish leg was opened by Joyce's grandnephew, Bob Joyce – whose idea it was – and was broadcast from the National Library in Dublin. The first reader was writer Joseph O'Connor and afterwards included actor Frank Kelly and Impac award-winning author Kevin Barry and John Sheahan from the Dubliners; all giving a lively delivery that lifted the words off the bare page.

Kelly revealed he was torn between Bloomsday and Father's Day, because he had "17 grandchildren impatiently waiting with presents" for him at home.

"They're all ages from tiny babies up to university level," he stated proudly.

He recalled how he had once met Joyce's publisher, Sylvia Beach, in Paris. "She was foxy – very cute and clever," he said.

Irish Independent

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