Bloomsday

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Bloomsday is a commemoration observed annually on June 16th in Dublin and elsewhere to celebrate the life of Irish writer James Joyce and relive the events in his novel, Ulysses, all of which took place on the same day in Dublin in 1904. The name “Bloomsday” derives from Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses.

The novel recounts the hour-by-hour events of one day in Dublin–June 16, 1904.   Dubliner Leopold Bloom wends his way through the urban landscape, the odyssey of a modern-day Ulysses.

The special significance of June 16, 1904 was on that day Joyce had his first date with his future wife, Nora Barancle, a 20-year-old chambermaid. They walked to the Dublin urban village of Ringsend.

Davy Byrne’s Pub on 21 Duke Street was made famous in the novel. Leopold Bloom stopped there for a gorgonzola cheese sandwich and a glass of burgundy wine.

Within hours of landing in Dublin two years ago, a group of us trooped off to Davy Byrne’s Pub.   Since it was early in the morning the pub was still closed–they were sweeping ,vacuuming and polishing the bar–but the owner invited us inside and gave us a tour of the pub and some good stories about Joyce. We later went back for lunch. Our group was split between Guinness and burgundy wine!

This year illustrator Robert Berry is releasing Ulysses Seen, is a comic book adaptation of the novel.   The first chapter can be seen at http://ulyssesseen.com with an accompanying readers’ guide, and as a free app for the iPad.

The idea, born on a prior Bloomsday, was fueled, Mr. Berry explained, “by a few pints of Guiness and a bet.”

Has anyone followed in the steps of Leopold Bloom?  Participating in a Bloomsday event?

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