AT the drop of a fedora hat he can wax lyrical about James Joyce and quote liberally from the author's most famous work, 'Ulysses'.
But don't ask David Norris about the presidential race when he is launching the annual Bloomsday Festival.
Probably the country's foremost Joycean scholar, Senator Norris was in full bloom as he helped launch the five-day festival celebrating the works of Joyce and the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin on June 16, 1904.
This year's festival, which runs from June 11 to 16, will feature the first 'Ulysses in Dublin' pub quiz, together with readings and songs from the novel and Joyce bicycle and bus tours around the city.
Yesterday, as he posed for photographs at the James Joyce Centre in front of the original front door from No 7 Eccles Street, Dublin -- Leopold Bloom's home in 'Ulysses' -- Mr Norris insisted he was not there to talk about his chances in race for the Presidency.
"This is about Bloomsday, this is about the Joyce Centre, this is about Dublin and tourism, it's not about me," he said.
Mr Norris said that if people wanted to talk to him about the Presidency, then they could follow him on his campaign trail.
He was on much safer ground when talking about Joyce and 'Ulysses'.
"I never lose my enthusiasm for Joyce and the book. It's such a wonderful story," he said.
"When you think of Joyce and his celebrity, I think it must have been wonderful for him that an ordinary decent woman (his wife, Nora Barnacle), with no interest in literature at all, was so loyal to him."
Full details of the Bloomsday festival programme are available at www.jamesjoyce.ie.