Finnegans Wake-End

3rd – 5th May 2019

To mark the 80th anniversary of the publication of Finnegans Wake the James Joyce Centre is delighted to host Finnegans Wake-End, a weekend celebrating this epic piece of literature. The Finnegan Wakes Project will be filmed in Joycean locations across the city, co-hosted by Waywords and Meansigns. Attendees will have a chance to read passages of Finnegans Wake for inclusion in this global project. Throughout the weekend, there will be further events, including talks, a performance by Sinead & Darina from Songs of Joyce, and a Finnegans Wake reading workshop, led by Terence Killeen, research scholar at the James Joyce Centre.


Booking for all Finnegans Wake-End events is essential as places are limited, particularly at Sweny’s Chemist. You can book for individual events, or avail of a full weekend pass. Tickets for this event can be purchased here.

Finnegans Wake-End at the James Joyce Centre in May 2019
Image courtesy of Sara Jewell

Friday 3rd May – Finnegan Wakes Film Project at the James Joyce Centre

8 pm – €15, including wine reception.

We’ll kick off the Finnegans Wake-End with a panel discussion featuring Derek Pyle and Gavan Kennedy plus guests. Our panellists will consider the cultural and artistic impact of Finnegans Wake since its first publication in 1939. They will also discuss the way Finnegans Wake‘s obscure, often difficult style lends itself to unique forms of reading and artistic adaptation. This will be a great opportunity to explore Joyce’s final masterpiece, including the Wake‘s relevance in the 21st century.

The panel discussion will be followed by the Dublin beginning of the Finnegan Wakes Film Project, where Everybody will be invite to read a full page to a piece of wordless music that has impacted on their life.

Saturday 4th May – Reading the Wake at the James Joyce Centre

2pm – 4pm – €5

Led by Terence Killeen, James Joyce Centre Research Scholar, this reading workshop will explore the Anna Livia chapter of Finnegans Wake (Part I, Chapter 8). This accessible and engaging workshop will feature the 1929 recording of James Joyce reading from the text. Join us for an interesting afternoon exploring the linguistic richness of Joyce’s notorious text.

Saturday 4th May – Circling the Wake at James Joyce Centre

8pm – €20, including wine reception.

Circling the Wake is an evening guaranteed to entertain both seasoned readers and newcomers to Finnegans Wake. This epic piece of literature has baffled and delighted countless readers. Readings and performances throughout the evening will open up the text. The Finnegan Wakes Project will continue with Everybody invited to read a full page to a piece of wordless music that has impacted on their life. Darina Gallagher and Sinead Murphy from Songs of Joyce will perform excerpts from their Misses Liffey show, which brings us on a riverrun journey through the city of Dublin. They’ll introducing us to many of James Joyce’s women characters that live, work, sing and laugh along her banks.

Sunday 5th May – Finnegan Wakes Film Project at Sweny’s Chemist, Soffsoaping Salesman

8pm – €15, including tea and biscuits.

Sweny’s Pharmacy is famously featured in the fifth chapter of Joyce’s Ulysses, known as the ‘Lotus Eaters’ episode. This delightful spot has survived since 1847 and today still has all its original fixtures and fittings. Now run by volunteers, Sweny’s Chemist offers reading groups, bars of lemon soap and literary diversions served up with hot cups of tea. This is a unique opportunity to be part of the Finnegan Wakes recording project in an intimate Joycean location. Everybody will be invite to read a full page to a piece of wordless music that has impacted on their life.

Finnegan Wakes Film Project

The Finnegan Wakes Project aims to marryvoice the masterpiece to music, on film, in its very wholesome.  The idea is to invite Everybody to read a full page to a piece of wordless music that has impacted on their life.

The goal is to film two shoots per year; one at the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada and the second shoot in some city on a river referenced in Wake.  Here’s a brief snapshot of the Finnegan Wakes shoot at Burning Man last September:  Finnegan Wakes at Burning Man 2018

We’ve filmed in Kiev (‘And the dneepers of wet’), and in Antwerp (‘Hurry slow and scheldt you go.’)  Filming in Dublin for Wake’s 80th anniversary is a joyful opportunity to bring it all back home to its heart.

Finnegan Wakes has filmed 770 performances so far. The aim is to publish a complete edit of chapter I.8 (Anna Livia Plurabella) later this year. We will be focusing on wrapping I.8 during Wake’s 80th celebrations by the Liffey.

As the project progresses, there will be an interactive website where everyone in any place in the Chaosmos (with Wifi!) can themselves perform a page to music and upload it, staking their role in the greatest story of Alle!

When a sufficient number of performances are filmed for each chapter, we will gradually publish an edited edition of it online, culminating in a full-length, evolving film edition where all can watch and listen to Wake come alive to music, as Joyce prescribed.

Finnegan Wakes’ grande design is to set in motion a never-ending, ever-evolving, living, breathing, pulsating, online portal to Wake. It’s an invitation to frivolously drop a toe on the daunting Wake terrain, and have fun doing so while also birthing an utterly unique piece of art. It is an attempt to make Wake’s Word flesh again; accessible and alive for Everybody.

Dyoublong?   __  __  __!

Terence Killeen is the James Joyce Centre’s research scholar and author of Ulysses Unbound. He regularly leads seminars and lectures at both the Dublin and Trieste James Joyce Summer schools. Terence’s most recent publication is an essay on the earliest version of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which appears in the collection Joyce’s Non-Fiction Writings. He will be a keynote speaker at the North American James Joyce Symposium in Mexico city in June 2019.

Gavan Kennedy is the director of Finnegan Wakes.  Gavan spent his deformative years near the village of Glasson where the dark mutinous Shannon waves continue to break upon the westerly swerve of County Westmeath. His conviction for breach of contract with the Sacred Heart of Jesus not to drink alcohol before the age of 14 led to his inevitable journey Westward. Noting his “congenital inability to serve”, the Magistrate offered the penitent the option of continued crucifixion upon the crossbeams of Rome and Whitehall, or exile to Amerikay.  Generous tears filled the penitent’s eyes following his decision, but ‘twas Amerikay ‘twould be to double his mumper. His soul swoons slowly whenever snow falls faintly in Washington DC, since the same snow faintly falling, is also falling faintly upon the lonely churchyard, and upon the dark mutinous Shannon waves, of his ute.

Waywords and Meansigns

Waywords and Meansigns is an international project setting Finnegans Wake to music. With 150 contributing artists from 17 countries, the project features what one reviewer called “an all-star cast of weirdos” – ranging from Irish jazz musician Seán Mac Erlaine and the Here Comes Everybody Players theatre troupe to punk rock icon Mike Watt and BBC playwright Lavinia Murray. Simultaneously a musical adaptation and an audiobook, Waywords and Meansigns presents unforgettable adaptions of Joyce’s final work.

Waywords and Meansigns has also produced a number of events celebrating Finnegans Wake, with a goal of keeping Joyce’s works accessible to the 21st century. Previous events include a 28-hour radio broadcast, an audience-led participatory jam featuring children’s instruments, improv classes based on the Wake, and musical events featuring leopard print and platform glitter boots. The project also served as the impetus for Gavan Kennedy’s Finnegan Wakes Project; Kennedy first went to Burning Man to record readers for Waywords and Meansigns.

With exhibitions and performances hosted at the University of Toronto, University of London, the University of Antwerp, and Boston College, Waywords and Meansigns  is sure to delight newcomers to the Wake while surprising even the most seasoned Joyce readers. To learn more, visit

Derek Pyle is the director of Waywords and Meansigns. With Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes and Ollie Evans, Derek is a co-editor of “Joyce Smithy: A Curated Review of Joyce in Visual Art, Music, and Performance”, an annual review included in the James Joyce Quarterly. With Krzysztof Bartnicki Derek co-edits The History of James Joyce Music — Adaptations, Interpretations and Inspirations, a bibliography found on the Waywords and Meansigns website.