Yesterday was Bloomsday in Dublin. In 1922 the novel ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce was published and recounted the activities of a man – Leopold Bloom – over the single day 16th June 1904 in Dublin. Since that time that day has become a day for commemoration and celebration of the book, and the life of the writer. There are cultural and literary events all over the city, with particular attention on the locations around the city mentioned in the book. Devotees dress up in Edwardian outfits, and everyone has a jolly good time. I enjoy the festivities.
Yesterday I decided to mark the event by attending the Bewley’s Café Afternoon Theatre to see ‘Little Cloud’ – an adaptation of the short story ‘Little Cloud’ which had originally appeared in Joyce’s 1914 collection ‘Dubliners’. Adapted for the stage by Patricia Browne, directed by Vincent Patrick and produced by Judder Theatre, it tells the tale of office worker Tommy Chandler (played by Stephen Kelly) who is meeting his old college friend Ignatius Gallagher (Vincent Patrick) for drinks in the Shelbourne Hotel. Tommy is a dreamer and had great dreams of becoming a writer. Meanwhile it is Ignatius who has achieved literary success in London and New York with his celebrity interviews.
Some months ago I was invited on a guided tour of Dublin being organised by a group called ‘Dublin Decoded’. I didn’t investigate the event too much. As the people who invited me have impeccable taste, and I’m weak for guided tours, I suspected I would be in safe hands. Well yesterday was the date of the event. I glanced at the ticket. It was called ‘Dublin’s Great Lovers and Romantics: A walking tour of art and of history’, which seemed appropriate given that Valentine’s Day had occurred a couple of days earlier. Despite my devil-may-care-Texas-playboy demeanour, I would be able to enjoy such an excursion. Further details revealed that the two hour walking tour would be split into halves. The first hour would be inside the National Gallery of Ireland (the congregation point). The second hour would be in the streets outside. Continue reading Dublin decoded – a guided tour about love→
Thanks to the inclement weather, a walk in the park seemed unwise. A decision had to be made. I was not going to loll about the house like a sack of meal that Sunday afternoon. I put on my stylish anorak and headed outdoors. My first stop was to the coffee-shop near my house, where a caffeine-infused warm beverage (a coffee) was drank). Over the river I trotted. I was walking past Pearse Street Station on Westland Row when the skies opened. Into Saint Andrew’s Church I went for shelter. That’s one of the functions of a church I think. I was reading the history of the church on the plaque on the wall (built in 1832, three years after the Catholic Emancipation Act which legalised catholic churches, it is quite a splendid building in that gaudy catholic style). I was admiring the interior when a Polish priest approached me and told me that the church was closed. I departed. Continue reading Sunday, bloody Sunday→
Friday evening was spent at the theatre – the final evening show for ‘25/The Decriminalisation Monologues’ at Outhouse. Having written one of the monologues – ‘The Number’ – I had found it very difficult to watch my own piece initially. I was feeling a touch self-conscious and insecure about it. Not by Friday however. I had gotten over my nerves and was able to sit back and enjoy the entire show. It was a privilege to be included in this project. It is important to remember how different this country was in the very recent past – how cold, hard and cruel it was to anyone who fell outside the boundaries of what was considered ‘normal’ by mainstream society. How it crushed many people. But how people resisted and pushed back, eventually transforming the social landscape. I hope there will be continued life in ‘The Decrminaliation Monologues’ as it gives an insight to young people about those who fought, although their struggle is largely unknown to younger people. Continue reading Showbiz trooper→
Bloomsday may not be a major event on the holiday or event calendars for most people, but it’s an absolutely genius and deeply Irish day. I can’t think of a better idea than to take a date – in this case June 16th – and to turn it into a day long celebration, for a character from a work of fiction. Continue reading Blooming marvelous→