Bloomsday Montréal 2012

February 4, 2012 § 19 Comments

I am on a steering committee attempting to launch Bloomsday Montréal this year on 16 June.

For those who don’t know, Bloomsday is an annual celebration worldwide of James Joyce’s masterful novel, Ulysses, which was first published in 1922.  Ulysses traces the travels of one Leopold Bloom, a Dubliner, across the city on 16 June 1904. That date was significant for Joyce as it was the date of his very first outing with his wife to be, Nora Barnacle.  Many consider Ulysses the finest novel of the 20th century.  The first Bloomsday was celebrated on 16 June 1954, the 50th anniversary of Bloom’s travels, in Dublin, where the Irish artist John Ryan and the novelist Flann O’Brien decided to re-trace Bloom’s route around the city.

From there, Bloomsday has grown to be a massive cultural phenomenon, celebrated in over 60 nations around the world.  In 2004, the 100th anniversary of Bloom’s travels, a massive celebration was held in Dublin, with over 10,000 people in attendance.  On 16 June 1958, the star-crossed Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath were married on Bloomsday.  Why Montréal, a major city of the Irish diaspora has not had a Bloomsday until now is beyond my ken.  But, it is time.

We are just getting organised, our webpage will be up soon, but in the meantime, follow us on Twitter or Facebook for updates and news of our events on 16 June!


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§ 19 Responses to Bloomsday Montréal 2012

  • E A M Harris says:

    Thank you for this post. I’ve never heard of these events and they sound both fun and fascinating. I wish you all the best with your Bloomsday.

  • John Matthew Barlow says:

    Thanks, I hope we can pull off a celebration worthy of Bloomsday around the world, which is a big deal.

  • Bob says:

    Great stuff Matthew!

  • Dave says:

    Congratulations Matthew! This a great and should keep things rolling along. We have lots more work ahead of us but we are now defInitely on the way.

  • Dave and Judith Schurman says:

    By the way, there is a Pub quiz at Hurley’s on Thursday, Feb 16th at 5:30 p.m. A good time to talk to the folks there and to see if we would like this kind of event as part of our Bloomsday program (we are for it!!). Judith and I are going. Anyone up for it?

  • Dave Schurman says:

    McGill (MCLL) has now approved the budget. We are working on a website for the event – a major priority. And we think we have a treasurer lined up to help with the very essential financial side of things. As well, we met with Marty Devey of the Irish Embassy Pub on Bishop and he is definitely interested in the event and had a few suggestions. Also – we have heard from Michael Kenneally and the Irish Study Folks and they are on side and will advertize via the electronic Irish Studies newsletter. So things are progressing well and interest in the event is high.

  • John Matthew Barlow says:

    Excellent news, the budget approval and website. Do we have someone who can do the site? All good news.

  • Dave Schurman says:

    A few more words re web sites, etc…While we want our OWN site built and maintained by our group, we have to remember that the money comes to McGill (via Webster Funds) and thus they have to have their say re their image! In other words – they will have a say on what the initial site looks like (McGill/SCS/MCLL) and we HOPE it then connects to our site directly with maybe a little “tweaking” from them. Let’s wait till mid week and then re assess our position. At that point we would bring in a web developer. Does this sound quite bureaucratic? Of course but that’s McGill!! [BTW the McGill Alumni folks want to advertise this stuff so time as of the essence.]

  • Dave Schurman says:

    Bloomsday Committee meets again on Friday, Feb 17th at 11 a.m. at McGill – 688 Sherbrooke 2nd floor.

  • Bob says:

    Check out latest on Bloomsday Montreal 2012 at or below:

    Montrealers will commemorate Bloomsday, June 16, the date made famous in James Joyce’s Ulysses, with an all-day roster of activities including public readings of Ulysses at the Roddick Gates, a special breakfast, luncheon and dinner at local Irish pubs, talks on Joyce, devotees in Edwardian costume, a Ulysses trivia contest, and live music and theatre. The public is invited to participate.

    “I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book,” wrote Joyce (1882-1941). Ulysses takes place on that single day, June 16, 1904 and is the odyssey of Leopold Bloom set in a world of pubs, shops, churches and urban street life in and around Dublin. Joining Bloom on his journey were Molly Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, stately plump Buck Milligan, Blazes Boylan, Davy Byrne at his pub and a host of other characters.

    From June 14 to 16, several Montreal institutions will join in the celebrations. Several events will take place at McGill University, on the main campus and at the School of Continuing Studies. The McCord Museum will host a special Bloomsday event, dedicated to the Irish of Quebec. The McGill Bookstore will feature Ulysses and related books. The Atwater Library will present a noontime lecture on a visit to Joycean landmarks in Dublin. The Segal Centre will host a presentation on Irish Jews, their history and future.

    Ulysses follows an ordinary man, Leopold Bloom, through a day in Dublin; the events Bloom experiences recall Homer’s Odyssey. The novel is intriguing in that its main character is an Irish Jew. This “outsider” is our hero. What was it about this small population that fascinated Joyce and made him choose Leopold as the protagonist of his great novel?

    Bloomsday 2012 Montreal is for admirers of Ulysses and followers of Bloomsday from all cultures and walks of life – certainly not just literature. Everyone who has read the book and been moved by the words is a Joyce fan. Our celebration unites these Montrealers with people who will be staging Bloomsday events on this day in more than 60 other countries around the world.

    During the festivities, especially on campus and in the pubs, various groups will provide music, so central to the novel, and attendees will have an opportunity to hear favorite pieces and sing songs from Ulysses. Live readings from Ulysses will be presented all day on the main campus at McGill. Readers will be chosen to represent as many types of fans as possible. Also, there will be place for on-site registration for those wishing to read a favorite passage. The reading will be an occasion to celebrate the universality of Ulysses both in its themes and the people who love it.

    During the day, you’ll meet a number of characters from the book decked out in their Edwardian finery. They’ll all arrive on campus in late afternoon and have a chance to tell the audience why their costume is the best. Prizes will be awarded to the best James Joyce, best Nora Joyce, best Leopold Bloom, best Molly Bloom, best Stephen Dedalus, and best Minor Character.

    The program will include:

    A tour to Griffintown to discover Irish Montreal

    Talks on James Joyce and other topics related to Ulysses

    Film Bloomsday Cabaret celebrating Bloomsday in Dublin and St. John’s Newfoundland

    Readings from Ulysses

    A Ulysses trivia contest

    Music of all types by members of the Faculty of Music at McGill and local groups

    Storytelling and dramatization of Molly’s famous Penelope monologue

    Dancing by Bernadette Short’s Irish Dancers

    A sing-along of the popular songs in Ulysses, directed by a well-known Montreal musician.

    For further information on the event, contact David Schurman at 514-671-8516.

    Updated on Thu, 2012-02-16 12:25

  • […] will have much more to say shortly, but for now, I just want to update my previous Bloomsday Montreal post with our new website.  Everything is coming together nicely for our […]

  • Bob says:

    Stephen: “Hold to the now, the here, through which all future plunges to the past.” from Episode 9 – Scylla And Charybdis – library scene.

  • URL says:

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Read More: […]…

  • For Live Irish music for Bloomsday, contact Aindriu MacGabhann at

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