BLOOMSDAY 100 IN DUBLIN
Our daughter and son-in-law, Katie and Tim Clements, gave me a 75th birthday present of a trip to Dublin to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday. That is the day that the action in James Joyce's novel Ulysses took place, June 16, 1904. Tim accompanied me on the trip which lasted from Monday, June 14 to Thursday, June 16 and we spent a lot of our time visiting the places where the action in the book occurs. We also had a couple of fabulous meals and attended a concert of the Dublin Symphony playing music and songs mentioned in the book. Thank you, Tim and Katie for the trip of a lifetime! Here are some Ulysses pictures:
Chapter one, "Telemachus," takes place at the Martello Tower on the shore of the bay south of Dublin. (Each of the book's 18 chapters is named after a section of Homer's Odyssey,)
In this chapter Haines, an Oxonian who is temporarily staying with Stephen Dedalus (the co-protagonist of the novel) and Buck Mulligan, a medical student, tells of a nightmare involving a black panther:
Haines slept in a hammock:
Here is the view from on top of the tower:
After breakfast, Mulligan went swimming in Forty Foot Cove just next to the tower,
As you can see there were lots of visitors, besides me:
Chapter 2, "Nestor," takes place in the school in which Stephen is a teacher. It is about a mile walk from the tower, but we didn't get there. After his teaching duties are done, and he has had a conversation with his headmaster, Stephen takes the train to Sandymount where he walks on the strand (i.e. beach) and cogitates on the meaning of life. This is chapter 3, Proteus:
The power plant in the background is known as the Pigeon Coop. Here is another picture:
Chapter 13, "Nausikaa," also takes place on this strand. In this episode, Leopold Bloom, the other co-protagonist of the novel, comes to the beach around eight in the evening and flirts with young Gertie MacDowell. As he does this, he can hear the music of the Benediction service coming from the adjacent church called "The Star of the Sea." Tim and I went in this church where there was an exhibit of Joyce memorabilia as well as a short video showing Dublin as it was in those days:
Chapter 4 is called "Calypso." In it, Leopold Bloom, who lives at 7 Eccles street with his wife Molly, prepares her breakfast in bed and his own in the kitchen. The house no longer exists, as it has been taken over by a hospital, but there is a similar house across the street which bills itself "Bloom house."
Here is the street corner, where you can just make out the name "Eccles Street."
In Chapter 5, "The Lotus Eaters" Bloom walks to town to the public baths. He crosses the O'Connell Bridge over the River Liffey:
He then takes the tram to a stop near Paddy Dignam's house, 9 Newbridge Ave. Paddy has died, and Bloom is going to the funeral (Chapter 6, "Hades.") Here is Paddy's house:
On the way to the funeral, they pass the Mater Misericordiae (Mother of Mercy) hospital which is just up Eccles street from Bloom's house:
The funeral mass is held in a chapel
in the cemetery after which the burial takes place.
(That's the funeral chapel in the background.)
This is the O'Connell tower in the cemetery:
Parnell is also buried there. The funeral party visited his grave after the burial of Paddy Dignam:
The carriage brings the mourners back to town and in Chapter 7 ("Aeolus") Bloom goes to the newspaper office to try to sell an advertisement. He goes down to Bachelor's Walk to consult with the advertiser, but is unable to resolve the matter. The walk is along the north bank of the Liffey:
In Chapter 8 ("Lestrygonians") Bloom walks by the gates of Trinity College:
Nearby is the famous statue of Molly Malone ("Cockles and mussels, alive-alive-o") but I don't think it was there in those days:
(Molly Malone has nothing to do with Molly Bloom, whose real name, by the way, is Marion.) Bloom goes on to lunch at Davy Byrne's pub, where he takes a gorgonzola sandwich with a glass of burgundy. Tim and I lunched there on that "Bloom lunch" which is advertised on the menu at an outrageously elevated price:
Here we are inside, enjoying our burgundy, waiting for the gorg:
Of course there is a portrait of Joyce in there:
Chapter 9 ("Scylla and Charybdis") takes place a short distance from Davy Byrne's, at the Dublin Library:
Chapter 10 ("The Wandering Rocks") is the most convoluted chapter in Ulysses. It tracks the movements of 20 people as they wander around Dublin on various bits of business. The first is the priest Father Conmee who leaves the Presbytery of St. Francis Xavier's Church:
(That's the Presbytery next to the church.)
Father Conmee was at one time a teacher in Belvedere College where Joyce (and his alter ego, Stephen Dedalus) were students:
Father Conmee encounters a one legged sailor next to the church, but as his order (Franciscans) obeys a vow of poverty, he is unable to provide alms. However, the sailor walks around the corner to Eccles Street, and as he passes the Bloom's house Molly throws a coin to him out the window. The sailor then turns the corner into Nelson Street where we lose track of him:
Two other wanderers named Artifoni and Farrel pass the Oscar Wilde house on Clare Street:
Just across the street, in Merion Square, is a statue of Wilde:
Chapter 11 ("Sirens") takes place in the Ormond Hotel. Bloom (one of the 20 wanderers in the previous chapter) arrives to meet a friend with whom he plans to visit Paddy Dignam's widow. They are going to help her claim Paddy's life insurance. Another of the wanderers is Blazes Boylan, Molly Bloom's lover, who is on his way to an assignation at their Eccles Street home. He also winds up at the Ormond. Simon Dedalus, Stephen's father is also one of the wanderers who comes there:
The bar, where the action takes place (it's actually called the "Siren's Bar" now):
Chapter 12 ("Cyclops) takes place a short distance away, at Barney Kiernan's pub. Bloom gets into an argument with a drunk, one eyed anti-Semitic bigot who hurls a large biscuit box at him as he escapes from the pub. Barney Kiernan's is no longer there but a new establishment is being furbished:
Chapter 13, Nausikaa, has been discussed earlier. Chapter 14 ("The Oxen of the Sun") takes place at the National Maternity Hospital where Bloom goes to visit a friend, Mrs. Purefoy, who has been in labor fro three days. (This is one of the most interesting chapters of the book, as it is written in various styles, beginning with early Latin up to modern slang, parodying with the development of the language the development of a fetus.) The hospital has been rebuilt, but a plaque commemorates the old one:
Chapter 15, "Circe," is the longest chapter in the book (just as Odysseus' sojourn with the sorceress Circe was the longest of his adventures). It took place in the red-light district of Dublin, which no longer exists (Joyce called it "nighttown.") Its entrance was at the corner of Marbot and Talbot Streets. Marbot has been renamed "James Joyce Street) but Talbot Street is still there:
On his way to nighttown, Bloom stopped to look in at Cormack's Pub, No. 74. It is still a pub, but the name has changed:
In Chapter 16 ("Eumeus") Bloom and Stephen Dedalus go to a cabman's shelter nearby to have a hot drink. Stephen has been laid out cold by a soldier whom he offended in nighttown, and is attempting to recover. The shelter is no longer there, but this is approximately where it was:
In Chapter 17 ( "Ithaca") Bloom and Stephen walk back to 7 Eccles Street. Bloom invites Stephen to spend the night, but his invitation is declined and after host and guest urinate in the garden, Stephen leaves for parts unknown (he has already relinquished his bed in the tower). Chapter 18, Penelope, is Molly Bloom's famous monologue 36 pages with only seven punctuation marks (hence, "stream of consciousness").
Tim and I went to the Bloomsday celebration at the James Joyce Center and saw many people in costume including Molly in bed:
There were recitations of parts of Ulysses from the top of the tram. Here is a picture of the lady giving the last sentence of Molly's monologue from memory (remember, it's about four pages long):
Here is the Joyce Center:
Tim and I felt out of place since most of celebrants were in costumes, some as specific characters and some just in Edwardian dress.
Blazes Boylan and, to his right, Leopold Bloom.
Here is Joyce himself. To his right ia a real Joyce, James Joyce's great nephew.
Two of Joyce's great nieces were there also. (You'll recognize the one on the right as the "Molly Bloom" pictured above.)
Here was a group of young people in costume:
More Edwardian dress:
This will give you an idea of the size of the crowd gathered in front of the Joyce Center:
The following cartoon is a good way to end this odyssey:
Of course the last two lines of text are from the end of Molly's monologue.