I’m back from Ireland with stories to tell. What a wonderful country! The dress I made for Bloomsday was a hit and wasn’t too mangled in the travels. Stuffing the arms full of paper and the body of the dress with my shawl did the trick.
We started the day at the James Joyce Center, where foreign dignitaries and members of various literary societies read passages from Ulysses. I was interviewed by a reporter for the Irish Times who was doing a story on the festivities.
Next we headed to Davy Byrnes’ Pub, where Leopold has lunch in the book (“Mr Bloom ate his stripes of sandwich, fresh clean bread, with relish of disgust, pungent mustard, the feety savour of green cheese. Sips of his wine soothed his palate.”) The gorgonzola sandwich was actually delightful (hold the mustard, thanks) and went well with the Guinness we drank in place of the storied Burgundy. One of the servers said the pub had sold 500 of the cheese sandwiches that day.
Plenty of people at the pub wore period costume. One group held court in the back room singing old songs. Up front people took turns reading passages over the bar’s intercom system. There were men in waistcoasts (what we call vests) and women in Edwardian day clothes — big hats and blouses belted into layers of skirts. One Dubliner commented on my costume, “Loverly dress — bit posh idn’t it?”
And so went this Molly’s first Bloomsday. The real Molly Bloom wore bed clothes — she stayed in bed all day. But a nightgown wouldn’t have been as fun to make.