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The Bloomsday Celebration was an initiative to enhance the ‘cultural’ credentials of the ICS and also test the premise that our networking and communication could foster a new interest in such an event. Bloomsday is an international celebration of the life of James Joyce. It is held on June 16, the day that his novel Ulysses takes place in 1904 and is named after its protagonist Leopold Bloom. Our first Bloomsday was held at the Faculty Club, University of Calgary in 1986 and featured a presentation by Dr Dick Wall. Dick being Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at U of C had access to excellent visual presentation material existing at the University and was a noted Joycean scholar. Dick, a Dubliner, relished giving an interesting and enjoyable presentation on one of his favourite subjects to an appreciative audience. Thanks to him this successful evening resulted in Bloomsday becoming an annual event on the ICS calendar the following years.

Bloomsday Advertisement. James Joyce sketch by Ron Nolan

The following year titled “A Celebration of James Joyce”, choreographed by Rory Clancy, consisted of a viewing of the movie “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”, readings by Martin Cowman of “Anna Livia” from Finnegan’s Wake and the poem “Gas from a Burner” read by Rory Clancy.

Martin Cowman presenting “Anna Livia”

Rory Clancy recalls a highlight of the Bloomsday Evenings at the Deane House when we were entertained by no less a personage than James Joyce himself, played in costume by Declan O’Reilly. Declan’s portrayal of Joyce blended in theatrically with the haunted ambiance of the historic Deane House. It was a memorable evening that also included a visit from Molly Bloom in reminiscing mood, presented by Marie Bakay.

Associated with the Bloomsday Evenings, Rory and Ron Duffy set about organizing an Irish Literary Group encouraging Irish bibliophiles to form a book club and discussion group.

Bloomsday Advertisement 1988

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