Just thought I'd wish Rob and everyone else a happy Bloomsday if you are reading this on the 16th of June. The events of the book took place 104 years ago today.You can check out what they are doing in 'Dear Dirty Dublin' today here:http://www.visitdublin.com/events/AllDublinEvents/Detail.aspx?id=235&mid=2740I did the whole Bloomsday thing around Dublin in the steps of Stephen and Leopold while I was working in Dublin on this day 10(!) years ago. (It doesn't seem that long ago. Gulp!)We started at 8pm on Eccles Street and an actor went through Leopold Bloom's internal musings and trip to the kidney shop - not to mention his 'morning evacuations' - luckily he wasn't too 'method' in that particular.Bloom's house was one of the many Georgian houses bulldozered down in Dublin during the building boom of the 60s btw, but the actor used the doorstep of a neighbouring house as his stage.Then I went to the Martello Tower Stephen and Buck Mulligan wake up in. Its open to the public as a museum now, so you can see Joyce's manuscripts and a waistcoat he wore embroidered with sheet music there today. The 'gunrest' referred to in the first chapter isn't some design feature, but the pillar on the roof where the gun was positioned awaiting Napoleons fleet.I was very lucky in that the day was exactly as described in the book. It started beautifully warm and sunny and towards the very end of the day - in the wee small hours - it began to rain heavily.During the day I took in the beach on Sandymount Strand where Bloom has certain lustful fantasies that kept the censors in work for a few years, and then on to Davy Byrne's 'moral pub', where, just like Bloom, I had Gorgonzola and mustard sandwiches and a glass of Burgundy.I passed the National Library and the Maternity hospital mentioned in the book. In the afternoon I went to the Ormond Hotel, where there were singers in the old turn-of-the-century style that Joyce celebrated in his books. Its been completely remodelled since I was there that day, so I'm glad I saw some of its old glory. (Dublin itself has gone through incredible changes in the 10 years since I did my Bloomsday even.)The two protagonists covered a lot of ground geographically on that day, and I found it quite tiring trying to keep up with them. The only important site that I missed was the cemetary in Glasnevin - It takes up most of the area of that part of Dublin and the Dubliners joke that the dead outnumber the living there. In the end I had a few drinks with different friends and made my way home through the night-town area of Dublin. The raucous red-light houses and drinking dens are long-gone, bulldozed away for public housing that has in turn become very socially deprived. Normally I would never walk thruogh that part of the city, and although the belligerent British squaddies are long gone too, I was quite relieved not to be beaten up by Irish junkies either.This is a site of photos of what the locations in Ulysses look like today if you are curious.http://www.emsah.uq.edu.au/ulysses/index.htmAll in all I like the fact that the whole city celebrates a book, of all things, for one day. Its civilised and not that common when you think about it.The other special thing about today is that it's the birthday of my god-daughter and niece, whose middle name is Molly in honour of Leopold's missus.
Sounds like quite a day, man. I'm glad you were spared the evacuations.
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