• Morgan Fagg

Bloomsday and James Joyce in Madrid

Updated: Jul 31, 2018


Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home.

I have created a James Joyce and Bloomsday section on this blog which is lacking much Blog content at the moment but for Bloomsday, you need only look at either the Photography Section or Videography Section as I have included photographs from Bloomsday 2015, 2017 and 2018 and 3 videos from 2018.


Since most of my visitors seem to come from The Bloomsday Society, it is important for me to thank them and explain where to find links to different photographs and videos.


I hope to be able to add more blog pieces over time and that this website will serve as a reminder of the fantastic effort done by so many, to make Bloomsday such a success, especially in Madrid.


Firstly, I must thank my neighbour and mentor who has indirectly brought me to Spain.

Séamus MacAogáin

Séamus MacAogáin encouraged his son to try teaching in Madrid and his son Simon gave me the same advice when I was thinking of teaching English as a second language and I didn’t know what part of the world to look at.


My lifelong friend introduced me to his own readings of Joyce in the James Joyce Irish bar on Bloomsday 2015. Here is the link

https://www.bloomsday-2015.nohemingway.com


Needless to say, Séamus and his good friend, John Liddy had talked a lot about the annual Joyce tradition which was still very new to me.


Séamus and John Liddy

Just ten years ago, when I saw a librarian in the Dáil, dressed in vintage clothing, I thought he was dressed like Doctor Who, not realising the significance of the date. Later that same day, I saw actor Woody Harrelson on the streets of Dublin and wondered if he was attending one of the Bloomsday events or if it was just a coincidence.


My cultural awareness of Bloomsday included my father pointing out Martello Tower and a friend bringing me for a pint of Guinness in The Oval but more overly it was the press coverage that Senator David Norris had gained, each June


While I was aware of The Bloomsday Society in Madrid, I think 2017 was the first of their events that I attended and what an event it was.

President Higgins signing a book for Senator David Norris

Organised in Café Pandora with everyone dressed in period costumes, I met the beautiful Sara Cantó who started The Bloomsday Society, here in Madrid. https://www.bloomsday-2017.nohemingway.com

Sara Canto joining me for a selfie

In addition to monthly readings of Joyce, the society has organised a number of Bloomsday Celebrations in recent years;

2014 Librería El Tranvia

2015 Círculo Catalán

2016 Ateneo de Madrid

2017 Café Pandora

2018 Ateneo de Madrid


The group have been reading novels, poetry and plays by James Joyce on a monthly basis since 2014 and sing songs mentioned in Joyces´s works too. They meet monthly so do check out their website to find out more.

https://bloomsdaysociety.blogspot.com/



The excellent Café Pandora event was well attended and I must apologise that the photographs were only taken with a camera phone but I had to show how fantastic the event looked with people in period costumes and with so many people sweating in the Madrid heat, I am sure Joyce never saw so many FANS as in Madrid that night.


Afterwards and after Ambassador David Cooney had left, a few of us decided to check out another event in Desperate Literature which is a bookshop in the city centre, near Gran Via.


Leaving Café Pandora for Desperate Literature where they too had dressed up to read.


This year, I attended The Bloomsday Society´s event on June 15th in The Ateneo, Madrid, which had music and readings and was attended by Ambassador Síle Maguire, I have included a video of the event in the video section and two from Desperate Literature´s Bloomsday event the following day, Bloomsday and have including one, read in Greek which I thought was absolutely fantastic.

https://www.bloomsday.nohemingway.com https://www.desperateliterature.nohemingway.com

What a spectacle? Ambassador Síle Maguire framed within the group celebrating Bloomsday

Joyce wrote more than just one book and The Bloomsday Society celebrates more than just once a year and they finished the season in Museo Reina Sofia for a discussion on Finnegans Wake as part of Dora García: Segunda Vez exhibition. https://www.bloomsday-society.nohemingway.com


While I am not yet a member of The Bloomsday Society, I have been told that I must sing for my supper so let’s see what articles and videos we can create when the group meets up again in September.


I am no Joyce scholar so every time I talk about Bloomsday and James Joyce, I am afraid, I am talking out of my hat but well done to all the dedicated Joyce enthusiasts who are always ready to read out-out-loud, sing or talk about James Joyce or dress up and celebrate Bloomsday.


Check out my video page for videos from this year's events.https://www.nohemingway.com/videos

If you want to get ahead, get a hat

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© 2018 by Morgan Fagg.