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James Joyce fans unite to celebrate Bloomsday

Photo credit: Fred Hart
Northampton Irish Association visit the grave of James Joyce’s daugher Lucia. Photo credit: Fred Hart

AS old copies of Ulysses were dusted down from bookshelves, the annual Bloomsday celebrations sprang to life at the weekend through a series of events paying tribute to the life and works of James Joyce.

On Sunday, the London leg of the Global Bloomsday Gathering was held at the London Irish Centre in Camden.

In the show, live readings of the Joyce’s most celebrated work were screened around the world, with contributions from Irish actors including Brian Gleeson (Snow White and the Hunstsman), Orla Fitzgerald (The Wind That Shakes The Barley) and Roxanna Nic Liam.

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The Northampton Irish Association marked its tenth Bloomsday celebration with a trip to the grave of  Lucia Anna Joyce at Kingsthorpe Cemetery.

The Irish writer’s daughter had spent years at St. Andrew’s Psychiatric Hospital in Northampton.

Gerry Molumby, dressed as James Joyce, led the revival with a reading from ‘Hades’, the funeral episode in Ulysses, before poems were read along with a rendition of Just A Song At Twilight.

On Friday The Wheatsheaf pub in Soho, London, hosted ‘Joyce in Paris’ a two-hour show which explored the writer’s life in Paris in 1922 – the year of Ulysses’ publication.

A mixture of Irish and French music from Bow and Bellows featured during the evening, along with readings from episodes of Ulysses by the actress Nora Connolly and actor Oengus Macnamara. The performance was followed by an impromptu open mic session.

Bloomsday, which is named after one of the main characters – Leopold Bloom – from Ulysses, is timed to coincide with events which take place in the novel, on June 16, and is marked by celebrations, festivals and revivals of the Irishman’s work throughout the world.

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James Martin
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James Martin is a freelance journalist. Follow him @JamesIsMartin

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