'Stephen's boots crush crackling wrack and razor shells, squeaking pebbles, wood sieved log by the sandworm, lost Armada. Open your eyes, a stride at a atime. Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount Strand?
Early Morning: A profusion of suitably straw hatted ladies and bow tied gentlemen gathered in the morning at the Iris Charles Centre, Sandymount to feast on devilled kidneys and bucks fizz. Despite the eary hour, the annual Bloomsday Breakfast had an element of an Edwardian parlour soirée. Under the stewardship of Rodney Devitt, scholar and entertainer, our Joycean repast was accompanied by readings and musical turns. How lovely to hear a sung version of the Coolin and we enjoyed readings and poems from Eleanor, Pyllis and Glynis, I enjoyed a musical setting of Joyce's poem , Chamber Music. I was delighted to contribute a couple of airs on violin Amply fortified, we sallied forth to visit locations from Hades, Proteus and Nausicaa, the three episodes of Ulysses set in Sandymount accompanied by Rodney Devitt's insights and reading of related passages. You can hear Rodney read a snatch of Ulysses in the audioboo below.
|Lady Mayors of Ringsend and Sandymount Colide|
|Joyce stayed here on 'Ulysses' night|
|Bloomsday Group Rodney Devitt Paddy Dignam's House|
|Bloomsday Gathering Sandymount Green|
|David Norris reads Nausicaa|
|Mushrooms and devilled kidneys|
|James Joe McCarthy|
Evening: It was returns only at the NCH for Nora Barnacle, a brand new song cycle by Shaun Davey. Similar to Granuaile in that it that it features a song set for a solo soprano, but simpler in style and featuring a pared down ensemble of piano, clarinet, concertian/accordion, extended percussion and guitar. Nora's story is told in Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill's terse repetitive text as a series of postcards home (18 in total) from the various staging posts. A brief biographical programme note was projected at the start of each song. It is not often you hear a clarinet and concertina together, and the two reeds made an appealing blend. After a sustained applause and a standing ovation, the ensemble reprised, Nora in Paris. The limitations of just one voice stretched the relatively plain material a bit too thin to sustain my interest over a whole evening.
Bloomsday was fun. Sandymount was the place to be. Root out your copy of Ulysses and make a date for next year. If you can't catch one of Rodney Devitt's Joycean walks, you can pick up his guide book, Walking into Eternity at Books and Things on Sandymount Green.
Watch out for the gorgeous voice of Bríd Ni Ghruagáin. She will be appearing in Lerner and Loewe's Brigadoon at the NCH on Saturday June 20th. 3pm and 8pm
|Ulysses Quartet on Newbridge Ave|