Blooming in Mullingar - a celebration of the James Joyce connection

JP Donleavy in his library with “James Joyce”

JP Donleavy in his library with “James Joyce”

This year Mullingar will host a number of events on Bloomsday, Wednesday June 16 to celebrate its connections to the famous author of Ulysses, James Joyce.

Bloomsday traditionally celebrated by following the path of the famous character, Leopold Bloom, around Dublin on the morning of June 16 is a world-renowned literary celebration of Joyce’s epic novel Ulysses.

Mullingar curiously is the only other part of Ireland outside the capital that James Joyce ever spent time in. In 1900 his father Stanislaus was employed to sort out the electoral rolls in Westmeath and stayed at Levington House overlooking Lough Owel. The young James spent two summer vacations in 1900 and 1901 from University College Dublin in Mullingar, where he stored away references and characters for his new style prose.

In Mullingar library, from June 14 to 19 a photographic exhibition featuring photos of Mullingar from the turn of the century relating to Joyce and his stay in Mullingar will be on display. A number of books including Leo Daly's James Joyce & the Mullingar Connection; The Tenor & the Vehicle: A study of the John McCormack/James Joyce connection; James Joyce's Dublin Houses; and Nora Barnacle's Galway by Vivien Igoe will be on display. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man film will also be shown.

On Bloomsday, Wednesday June 16, you can have a James Joyce breakfast which includes kidney, a James Joyce lunch featuring the best of Mullingar beef, and a Bloomsday afternoon tea at the Greville Arms Hotel, an establishment which features in Ulysses.

An information board, James Joyce’s Westmeath Odyssey, will be on display in the hotel and a short film Tale of Two Belvederes will be shown which highlights the connection of Belvedere College, Dublin where James Joyce attended and Belvedere House, Mullingar. Free Bloomsday walks will take place at 11am and 3pm taking in sites such as the court house where James’ father Stanislaus worked and the nearby hostelry, Caffreys. And special Blooming good value offers will be available in local businesses.

For more information log on to www.mullingar chamber.ie or call (044 ) 9344044.

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