Joycean fans enjoy a blooming great day out
Devotees dust off straw boaters, striped jackets
IT is a mouth-watering prospect for any Joycean fan. The hot topic at the Bloomsday breakfasts throughout Dublin and further afield to mark June 16 in honour of James Joyce's most famous work was the expiration of the copyright on the novel on January 1, 2012.
It will give writers and performers the freedom to use passages and scenes from the book as they like without fear of breaching strict copyright laws as the Joyce estate has been extremely protective of the author's works.
"Until now it has been very difficult to perform any bits of Joyce's novel," Stacey Herbert, the Bloomsday festival co-ordinator, said. "It restricts a lot of artists. . . from taking up Joyce's works and making them accessible."
Onlookers may have pondered just how performers could possibly up-the-ante next year, as throughout Georgian Dublin there were straw boaters and striped boating jackets being dusted off and copies of 'Ulysses' plucked from the shelves.
Hundreds of people flocked to the James Joyce Centre in North Great George's Street where they tucked into their kidneys atop the traditional full Irish breakfast to mark the Bloomsday celebrations.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I just flew in from Edinburgh and I came straight here," said Professor Janet Winston from Humboldt State University in California.
There are a series of events staged throughout Dublin on June 16 -- as all the events of the book following the central character Leopold Bloom take place on a single day, June 16, 1904.
Throughout the day there were tours of key locations including the Martello Tower in Sandycove, with al-fresco dining outside Cavistons, while vintage cars and horse-drawn carriages crowded the narrow streets. In St Stephen's Green actor Alan Stanford hosted readings from the epic novel.
Elsewhere, others were only too happy to relax over the traditional lunchtime fare of a glass of Burgundy with a gorgonzola sandwich at Davy Byrne's pub.
In UCD, Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney received the university's highest honour, the Ulysses medal on Bloomsday.
"He (Joyce) wrote in prose but he could be deemed a poet I think and a 'father of all' to quote him," the 71-year-old poet said.
The university honoured five other poets at the Bloomsday Conferrings, including John Montague, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Michael Longley, Harry Clifton and Paul Durcan.
Honorary doctorates were also conferred on the poet Ciaran Carson, professor of poetry at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry at Queens University Belfast and Pulitzer prize-winning American cartoonist and creator of Doonesbury cartoon strip, Gary Trudeau.
"I'm so honoured and thrilled that I have the kind of readership in this country which would justify this kind of recognition. . . Here are six astonishingly gifted poets all assembled under one roof, and one cartoonist, maybe you could explain it?" said Mr Trudeau.
Yesterday's event also saw the unveiling of a new T-shaped painting of James Joyce by artist Robert Ballagh, in UCD's O'Reilly Hall.
"The difficulty about having art in a working environment is that it's very hard to protect with students milling around drinking coffee. So I think the front lobby of the O'Reilly Hall is a good spot. Forever hopefully," said Mr Ballagh.