Blooming marvellous

Simon Brouder

Local director and producer Frank Houlihan will be bringing a little Joycean flavour to proceedings during this year's Féile na mBláth festivities.

Frank and his production company Hy-Breasal Productions have rounded up a group of 25 performers to bring the literary works of James Joyce to life on the streets of Tralee this Bloomsday.  

Bloomsday is a commemoration and celebration of the life and work of the famed of Irish writer which is observed annually on 16 June, the day his novel Ulysses takes place in 1904. 

The date is that of his first outing with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle the day is named for Ulysses protagonist Leopold Bloom. The day usually involves a range of cultural activities, including Ulysses readings and dramatisations where Joyce enthusiasts dress in Edwardian costume; retrace Bloom's route around Dublin and reenact some of Ulysses most famous scenes.

While Bloomsday is more typically associated with Dublin - where Ulysses is set -more and more locations in Ireland and farther afield are now holding their own Bloomsday events.

In Tralee Frank and his Joycean cohort will travel - in full costume - to four venues around town where they will perform readings from Ulysses. The trail will start at Maddens Creative Hub on Milk Market Lane - where the event was launched on Friday - where for €12 guests can enjoy a Bloom brunch of kidneys as Leopold did in the world famous novel.

After that it's off to An Shebeen at 1.30pm; to the Town Park at 3pm and on to the Ballymac Bar at 4.30pm where the day's fun will conclude with gorgonzola sandwiches and Burgundy, like those Bloom ate for lunch in Davy Byrnes  bar. "My philosophy is to make theatre accessible - to take it away from the big theatres - and to make it affordable. Bringing theatre to the people," said Frank who says he's expecting a colourful and fun afternoon.