I confess I never finished Ulysses. I got as far as the Wandering Rocks episode (about halfways through) and then college hit and it wasn’t compulsory so I dropped it. Don’t get me wrong, It’s a brilliant book, it deserves the fame. But it also deserves it’s reputation as a difficult book. I read the Odyssey years ago so I thought it would give me a leg up but I still read Ulysses and a guide to Ulysses simultaneously because there was no other way I could figure out Stephen Dedalus’ theories by which he mathematically proves that Hamlet is Shkespeare’s grandfather (or something similarly ridiculous). I intend to finish it this summer because I did enjoy it.
Despite it’s difficulty it’s structure lends it to easy exploitation by the Irish tourist board which probably accounts for at least some of it’s fame.
This was my first Bloomsday, I had no real plan, no idea of what to do and definitely no costume (have you seen how expensive those things are?). I met a friend and we rambled around the city for a few hours, similar in style to Bloom and Dedalus’ ramblings but we definitely didn’t follow the same course for much of it. We showed up at Stephen’s Green just as the public readings were over and went to coffee shops rather than pubs. I did take a trip around the Irish writers centre, I saw number 7 Eccles street, say Davey Byrne’s and one or two plaques and statues and I saw masses of people in period dresses and more straw boaters than is strictly necessary.
But it rained. It lashed and lashed. then it stopped for about five minutes then lashed again. (I know I didn’t read the full thing but I saw the film and I’m pretty certain it didn’t rain). I hope people’s costumes weren’t ruined.
Next year I’ll be better prepared. First of all I’ll finish the damn thing. Then I’ll get there early, no student lie-ins for me. Then I’ll actually plan the day out properly. Get a decent crowd going up too (Being one of the few of my friends who is unemployed there were only two of us free who were interested). And I’ll make sure I check times of all events on the Irish Writers centre and the Joyce centre website, go to everything I can and start random conversations with anyone wearing a boater. I might even wear a costume.