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The Month Ahead: Festivals


To celebrate a native son, Dublin goes by the book

In cities around the world this month, throngs will turn out to celebrate Bloomsday, June 16, honoring James Joyce’s landmark novel Ulysses—which may baffle anyone who’s made a failed stab at reading the famously impenetrable day-in-the-life epic.

But it all makes perfect sense to the overseer of the biggest Bloomsday fete, a seven-day party in Joyce’s hometown of Dublin. “Ulysses is a very democratic book in that it brings people together,” says Mark Traynor, manager of Dublin’s James Joyce Centre. “You can’t read it in isolation—it almost requires a support group.”

In addition to retracing the steps of Ulysses’ hero, Leopold Bloom, through the city streets, Dublin Bloomsday attendees can partake of Joyce-centric readings, seminars and performances galore (including an experimental theater piece, (S)quark!, that employs an actual parrot in discussing the question: Was Joyce a genius?).

For first-timers, Traynor recommends the Bloomsday breakfast—though queasy eaters may balk at Bloom’s beloved grilled kidneys. “It’s a wonderfully social atmosphere,” Traynor says of the meal, “even if the menu isn’t to everybody’s taste.” JUNE 10–16

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