On the 16th of June, 1954 the first Bloomsday was celebrated in Ireland. Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh, Anthony Cronin, Tom Joyce and John Ryan met in Dublin to trace the Ulysses route, starting at the Martello Tower in Sandycove through Sandymount Strand and on towards the shadier parts of the city that Joyce called Nighttown. They travelled around Dublin in horse-drawn cabs and enormous boots, playing their assigned roles from Ulysses, singing sentimental songs and generally drinking so much in comfortable pubs that they failed to make it to the brothels (according to Peter Costello in Flann O’Brien: An Illustrated Biography). Today, Bloomsday is celebrated in Ireland and around the world with much the same spirit, if somewhat fewer brothels, as fans of Ulysses engage in re-enactments, readings, performances and pub-crawls all in tribute to James Joyce.
Happy Bloomsday to all!