Join Caitriona Balfe, Aidan Gillen, Glen Hansard, David Norris, and friends, for an evening of readings and songs from Ulysses as part of the Bloomsday Festival’s flagship event “Readings and Songs”, at 7 pm on Youtube Live.
On a normal Bloomsday, parts of Dublin come out in full force to celebrate James Joyce's Ulysses.
One of the most significant novels of the 20th century, Ulysses was first published in 1922, and is set on a single day, Thursday, June 16th, 1904. It follows people and events related to its central character, Leopold Bloom, an Irish Jew and newspaper advertising salesman in Dublin, who gives his name to Bloomsday.
If this were a normal year, there would be crowds attending the usual range of events and celebrations from readings to drama to lectures. People would visit the novel’s locations, some dressed in straw boaters and Edwardian frocks whilst they tuck into hearty breakfasts, of piquant kidneys with a “fine tang of faintly scented urine”.
But with the current pandemic ruling out mass gatherings of any sort, the celebrations are now taking place virtually.
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From virtual hat-making workshops to musical performances, there's a whole host of events to attend from the comfort of your home. But perhaps the most exciting event? Bloomsday Readings and Songs Online. The flagship event is a long-standing and treasured tradition which sees a variety of performers take to the virtual stage where they will read extracts from Ulysses. The readings will bring to life Joyce's immortal words, from his description of Dublin's "snotgreen sea”, to Molly Bloom's famous “yes”.
Kicking the show off with a bang, David Norris will take to the stage to introduce tonight's performance. Writers taking part this year include Colum McCann (who has said ‘the book that I return to, when I return to Ireland, is always Ulysses), Booker Prize nominee Donal Ryan, Paul Lynch, winner of the Kerry Group Novel of Year, crime writer Tana French, Mary Costello, recently shortlisted for the Dalkey Literary Award, Christine Dwyer Hickey, author of Dublin’s most recent One City One Book, and Peter Murphy, novelist and vocalist with Cursed Murphy & the Resistance. International best-selling author Douglas Kennedy will be reading with his actress daughter, Amelia Kennedy.
Going from stage to page will be chanteuse Camille O’Sullivan, Jess Kavanagh of BARQ, spoken word artist Sasha Terfous and Glen Hansard. While joining us from TV, film and the stage will be Aidan Gillen, Kate Stanley Brennan, Emmet Kirwan, performance artist Bonnie Boux and writer and director Gerard Stembridge. Bafta winner and four-time Golden Globe nominee actress, Caitriona Balfe, will be reading from Molly Bloom's soliloquy.
Readings and Songs will take place at 7 pm on Youtube Live on the James Joyce Centre channel on June 16th. For more information on the event, click here.
This is a free event but the organisers hope that those who watch will consider donating to one of our chosen charities: World Child Cancer, Focus Ireland and Age Action.
Set your alarms for 7 pm and get ready to celebrate Bloomsday in style.
You can watch 'Bloomsday Readings and Songs Online' in full below:
Main image by Film Fatale Events