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Joyce and the Jesuits: Bloomsday at St. Francis Xavier Church

Ulysses was finally published in book form in 1922 when, according to Fr. George O’Neill SJ, one of his teachers at Clongowes Wood College,  Joyce was enjoying “regrettable celebrity.” The main response to Ulysses in Ireland was to attack it on anti-Catholic grounds. Joyce did have major issues with the Irish Catholic Church of the time but his writings were steeped in Church history, philosophy and theology, which he knew far better than the majority of Irish Catholic clerics who denounced him. Gradually, acceptance of the importance of Joyce to Irish literature became widespread, by people of all faiths and none.

Even though he does poke gentle fun at certain individuals in the Society of Jesus, his affection for the Jesuits who educated him is palpable in his writings, and so it’s fitting to bring him back home to the Jesuit Church of St. Francis Xavier on Gardiner Street, a location that features in much of his work. For the 120th anniversary of the first Bloomsday, actor, writer and broadcaster Gerry McArdle puts together a programme of readings from Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses which highlights the Joyce-Jesuit connections. He is joined by well known figure in Irish musical circles, Raphael Kelly, and singer Suzanne Mangan. The event is hosted and narrated by popular RTÉ newscaster Eileen Dunne, who, like the other artists involved, freely donates her time and talents. 

Admission is free but donations are welcome.

  • 16 June, 2024
12:30 pm4:00 pm


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