Of course, you cannot see James Joyce since he died in Zurich in 1941. However that his books were banned in his homeland for many years and tried for obscenity in other countries,or that he lived in self-imposed exile from Ireland for the last thirty-six years of life – today, James Joyce has given his land a rich legacy. Today there are many things to see in Ireland that are about all things James Joyce. For lovers of the literature that he made there can be much pleasure in allowing his writing guide your around his home city of Dublin. So in my A-Z of Things to See in Ireland J is for James Joyce, genius!
Joyce met his wife Nora Barnacle on 16th June 1904. He used the date 16th June in his masterpiece Ulysses. A prophet may not be loved in his own land but belatedly Dubliners honour their local literary hero each 16th June with Bloomsday celebrations, taking the name from the book’s protagonist Leopold Bloom.
Dublin will offer many walks and things to see that are all very much James Joyce and Dublin. Local public transport will take you to see the famous Martello Tower at Sandycove, which is a feature Ulysses. It is now the home of the James Joyce Museum, so it is an excellent first stop on the trail of tracing the literary footsteps mapped in Joyce’s literary works.
Back in Dublin City Centre you can begin your walking tours in earnest. A visit to the James Joyce Centre on North Great George Street will be illuminating. Walking tours are scheduled each Saturday but private groups can make arrangements through the James Joyce Centre. They offer a general circular walk around a number of Joyce iconic locations, including the home of Leopold and Molly Bloom as well as the James Joyce statue that locals jocularly refer to as the ‘Prick with the Stick.’ For those diehard bookworms there are more specialised walks with special regard to the text of The Dubliners.For anyone who struggled with Ulysses in college you may want to take the Walking in the Footsteps of Leopold Bloom trail and suddenly all will be made clear!
James Joyce graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) in 1903. On Bloomsday 2011 his alma mater conferred honourary degrees upon an array of the brightest and best literary talent of Ireland. This particular year noted that Joyce started out writing as a poet. As Michael Longley says in this clip, “Prose is for sissies!” If you want to keep up with the great literary talent that is alive, well and writing in Ireland today then watch this clip and read their work. It may not be strictly Joyce….but it is everything to do with his literary legacy to Ireland and the world.
James Joyce’ progressive blindness is well known. Lesser known about him is that he was an accomplished tenor. The problems of reading the sheet music put paid to his continuing practice of music. He is known to composed music and here is a the only known composition sung by tenor Kevin McDermott.