Hidden Gems


As well as the more traditional events in the iconic locations from Ulysses, the Bloomsday Festival also showcases hidden gems. These could be events in some of the quirky locations mentioned in James Joyce’s novel that might not be open to the public for the rest of the year. Or events that explore chapters from Ulysses, fresh angles on or details from Joyce’s life or works.

On his way to lunch, Leopold Bloom, thinks about “Dunsink time”, referencing the Dunsink Observatory. This Bloomsday Festival, visit the original meridian room of the observatory, now part of the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) for The Heaventree of Stars - a Bloomsday celebration of astronomy, maths, music and science in Ulysses. Or experience the Nestor episode in Dalkey and discover Joycean connections on a walk around this beautiful seaside town at the Dalkey Bloomsday Festival.


For new angles on Joyce’s works, catch  Dr. Anne Marie D’Arcy’s lecture about The shadow of Kishniev in Ulysses in the Dublin Jewish Museum. The talk will focus on the Cyclops episode of Ulysses, where Leopold Bloom and the notoriously anti-Semitic Citizen clash. Dr. Anne Marie D’Arcy will explore Joyce’s knowledge of patristic and medieval anti-Judaic polemic, as situated in the immediate aftermath of the most notorious pogrom of modern times, centred on the Bessarabian city of Kishinev over Easter in 1903.

Have you ever wondered How to Marry a Literary Genius? Find the answer in this literary cabaret celebrating the impenetrable reputation of Ulysses, gods, goddesses and overt sexuality, inspired by a 1955 photograph of Marilyn Monroe reading the final pages of Ulysses. Joyce and Monroe brought art and infamy to their marriages. Nora Barnacle, a muse of the carnal and the feminine. Marilyn so joyously defiant of traditional inhibitions, a source of inspiration and jealousy for Arthur Miller. With theatre scenes from Arthur Miller’s work, readings from Ulysses and musical numbers with a touch of Billy Wilder, discover anew these two immortal sources of creative comic genius: James Joyce and Marilyn Monroe.


Over the last few years, academics and artists have started to explore the life of Joyce’s daughter. Lucia has been portrayed in a number of ways: as Joyce’s muse, Samuel Beckett’s lover, an ill-fated dancer, and as clinically insane. How to Imagine Lucia Joyce is an evening discussion that explores the merits and pitfalls of imagining who Lucia was, and how to balance creative responsibility while shedding light on an underdeveloped subject.

Why not spend Bloomsday afternoon at the Irish Film Institute watching Horrible Creature, which draws on Lucia’s writing to explore her world between 1915 and 1950. Her words are interpreted by a cast of international dance artists performing in a range of Swiss locations where Lucia spent time. This documentary by Áine Stapleton ignites our interest in Lucia’s complex family life, her unproven illness, and her undoubted talent.

If you are looking to gain a deeper understanding of Joyce’s writings or his life, find hidden gems in this year’s programme and Bloomsday Fringe to learn something new, surprising or meaningful about one of Ireland’s iconic writers.

Marty GilroyBlog, News