“Universal Joyce?” – Terence Killeen

We were delighted to welcome our James Joyce Centre Research Scholar Terence Killeen to deliver his talk “Universal Joyce?” on the evening of March 9th 2020 as the second lecture in our Spring/Summer series.

James Joyce’s last work, Finnegans Wake, is meant to be a universal epic, covering the whole of world history, and operating at a level of generality that seems intended to transcend all previous efforts of this type. Does this universality, however, come at a price, in that individual struggles and sufferings, both of people and of nations, are all subsumed under the cover of an extremely abstract schema of history and of human development? This is the question that Terence Killeen explored in his lecture “Universal Joyce?”, with special reference to the function of borders in the work.

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 recently was the keynote speaker at the North American James Joyce Symposium in Mexico City in June 2019. He is a former journalist with the Irish Times, for which he still writes on Joyce-related matters.


“Serial Encounters: Ulysses and the Little Review” – Dr. Clare Hutton

The James Joyce Centre was delighted to welcome Dr. Clare Hutton, Senior Lecturer in English from Loughborough University to begin the Spring/ Summer Lecture Series on Monday 3rd February 2020.

It may be the world’s most notorious Irish novel, but Ulysses was first published in New York in an obscure avant-garde journal, the Little Review. The text, significantly different to the one which Joyce subsequently finalised, attracted enthusiasm and opprobrium in almost equal measure, and was deemed obscene before Joyce had even completed the work.

Hutton’s paper, Serial Encounters: Ulysses and the Little Review, explored the unusual pre-history of the book, and the significance of this history for readers today. 

Though a Dubliner by birth (and even some education) Clare Hutton has been living and working in England for decades. She is delighted to be visiting and to have the chance to talk about Ulysses. She first heard about the James Joyce Centre in 1991, when David Norris visited London and delighted a migrant audience with stories of the discovery of the Maginni connection in North Great George’s Street.


An Evening of Noras – Reading Event at the Joyce Centre

On the evening of Friday 31st January 2020 at 7pm, the Joyce Centre hosted a reading event with a difference, it sought to harness raw intimacy and frank sexuality in readings that delivered a modern take on the spirit of Nora Barnacle and her letters. We were delighted to welcome our three wonderful writers; Clíona Saidléar, Grace Wilentz & Sinéad Nolan to the Kenmare Room.

Our writers were published together in ‘Autonomy’, the anthology which supported Repeal, and between them, they share decades of experience in activism. During the evening the writers shared prose and poetry asserting that pleasure is indeed still political.

Their writing explored themes of sexuality, autonomy, pleasure, care, and the self, through reflections on the lives of individual women. As well as reflecting on shared experiences of political moments which brought seismic shifts in relation to the status of women in Ireland and elsewhere.

Through their focus on Nora Barnacle, the reading event formed part of the Joyce birthday celebrations at our Centre. This year, on February 2nd we celebrated the 138th Birthday of James Joyce.

This event is also featured as part of the 2020 Herstory Light Festival, an annual global event celebrating women and equality. The 2020 Herstory Light Festival took place over the weekend of St. Brigid’s Day, which is from Friday 31st January until Monday 3rd February 2020.

Clíona Saidléar is a Dublin based writer of prose. Her short stories have been published in the literary journals Crannóg, Anomalylit and Cold Coffee Stand and the anthologies, Autonomy and ITT’s Stand Fast 2018. She is the 2018 winner of the Red line Book Festival Prize and has been longlisted in the Penguin short story prize and shortlisted in the Cúirt new writer’s prize. Her writing style has been described by critics and editors as ‘simply and utterly delectable,’ ‘powerfully subtle’ and ‘unbearable delicate’.

Clíona is a feminist and an activist who has spent the last 15 years working on ending sexual violence with the rape crisis network Ireland where she has campaigned on everything from Repeal the 8th to sex education in schools. Before that, she spent a decade working in front line service provision for people with disabilities. 

She is currently the Executive Director of Rape Crisis Network Ireland. She is an avid swimmer and can otherwise be found in the sea!

Grace Wilentz’s poems have appeared in Irish, British and American journals including Poetry Ireland Review, Magma, The Harvard Advocate, the American Poetry Journal and The Irish Times. Recently, one of her poems was displayed on an artistic banner unfurled on the facade of the Abbey Theatre. She is the recipient of two Arts Council awards, including the literature bursary. Her debut pamphlet, Holding Distance was published by the Green Bottle Press in 2019. Grace Wilentz has worked for the past 10 years on advancing sexual and reproductive rights and justice. Her work is informed by a strong intersectional analysis.

Sinéad Nolan first published her poetry in Foiseach magazine in 2008 – an audacious move given she was an editor of that particular publication. She has written poetry of varying quality for most of her adult life and this year completed the Stinging Fly course for emerging poets with renowned poet Martina Evans. In 2018 Sinéad was delighted to be published in Autonomy by an editor other than herself. She recently competed in the Dublin Story Grand Slam at the Abbey Theatre, having won the monthly slam in 2018. Sinead started her campaigning life supporting activists-at-risk, later working with families of the disappeared in Mexico. She now focuses on human rights closer to home.

We followed the readings by a brief Q&A with all three writers where our audience explored themes which emerged during the readings, as well as links between the arts and political activism.



The Joyce Centre has learned with regret of the death of Stephen Joyce, grandson and last direct descendant of James Joyce. He was a doughty defender of his grandfather’s legacy and even though many of those subjected to the estate’s strictures in relation to permissions and fees actively resented them, Stephen was acting, as he saw it, to uphold his grandfather’s heritage.

It must also be said that some of the time Stephen’s opposition to things that were being done to Joyce’s texts and reputation was fully justified and that being the person in charge of the James Joyce Estate was a heavy burden. The loss three years ago of his wife Solange Raytchine was a severe blow to him. His decision shortly before he died to accept Irish citizenship and an Irish passport is a welcome indication that some reconciliation had been reached for him with Ireland, with which he had always been at odds and that a long-lasting family estrangement had been overcome.


Bloomsday Festival 2020

The Bloomsday Festival is a world famous literary street carnival in honour of James Joyce and his famous novel Ulysses that was set in Dublin on 16 June 1904. Experiencing Bloomsday in Dublin puts you at the heart of a moment in the Irish psyche.

Since Bloomsday was first celebrated in Dublin in 1954, the Bloomsday Festival has developed into a colourful and diverse celebration. The festival programme offers an inspiring trail of discovery across Joyce’s Dublin and the places immortalised in Ulysses. Stories and characters from Ulysses live and breathe. You’ll experience the novel and follow in the characters’ footsteps, from picturesque Sandycove (where the novel opens by plunging into the sea) to panoramic Howth (for the book’s romantic climatic finish). 

The Bloomsday Festival runs from 11-16 June in Dublin, the city that inspired Joyce and his major works. Explore the James Joyce Tower and Museum or reflect upon all the living and the dead at Glasnevin Cemetery. Enjoy the intimate atmosphere at Sweny’s Chemist or lose yourself in literature at the National Library of Ireland. Learn about Joyce’s life and works at the James Joyce Cultural Centre and discover a world of words at the Museum of Literature Ireland

Experience your personal odyssey across Dublin during the Bloomsday Festival. Encounter the reality of experience. Forge memories in the smithy of your soul that ensure that when you die, Dublin be written on your heart.

Walking Tours for Bloomsday Festival Week 2020

There’s no better way to get under the skin of James Joyce’s Dublin during the Bloomsday Festival than by joining a walking tour of the city lead by an expert local guide from the James Joyce Centre

Introducing Joyce’s Dublin Walking Tour: Though Joyce lived most of his life outside of Ireland, Dublin would provide the backdrop for virtually all of his work. On a stroll around the north inner city, our guide will explain the real-life inspiration behind some of Joyce’s most celebrated writing. Book here or here.

Joyce & the Irish Literary Revival Walking Tour: James Joyce grew up in a Dublin where politics, art and culture were intrinsic parts of everyday life and conversation. Nationalism was on the rise and in the world of literature, artists were engaging with ideas of Irish identity. Book here.

Ulysses in Sandymount Walking Tour: 

Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount Strand?’ 

This extended tour offers Joyceans an opportunity to get outside the city and explore the area around Sandymount that Joyce returns to in three episodes of UlyssesBook here.

Footsteps of Leopold Bloom Walking Tour: The ‘Lestrygonians’ episode of Ulysses sees Leopold Bloom make his way through the city centre on his way from Middle Abbey Street to the National Library. Join our guide as we follow in Bloom’s footsteps. Book here.

Dubliners Walking Tour: Joyce once referred to Dublin as the ‘centre of paralysis’, a city that he felt was backward and repressive in contrast to the modern capitals of Europe. This idea found its expression in Dubliners, a short story collection that illustrates the effects of this restrictive atmosphere on the city’s population. Join this walking tour to find out more. Book here or here.

Joyce & Yeats Walking Tour: Celebrate the birthday of Irish poet W.B. Yeats with this special walking tour focusing on his tumultuous relationship with the young James Joyce. James Joyce and W.B. Yeats are indisputably the two most recognisable and pivotal figures of twentieth-century Irish literature. Book here.

Bloomsday 2020 Walking Tours

Take to the streets and explore the city of Ulysses on a tour around some key locations from the book. Get a feel for the neighbourhoods that inspired Joyce, visit the address of Molly and Leopold Bloom and learn all about the “Hibernian Metropolis” in the company of our local guides.

Stops on the tour include Joyce’s alma mater, Belvedere College; Eccles Street, the address of Molly and Leopold Bloom; the birthplace of Oliver St. John Gogarty, the inspiration for Buck Mulligan and a whole host of other spots that pop up in the pages of Joyce’s novel. This tour ends on O’Connell Street.

Don’t forget to bring your boater! Book here.


Book Launch The Necessary Fiction: Life with James Joyce’s “Ulysses” by Michael Groden

On Thursday 28th November attendees, Joyce fans, friends and family joined us for a glass of wine and a stimulating discussion of The Necessary Fiction: Life with James Joyce’s “Ulysses” with author Michael Groden and James Joyce Centre Research Scholar Terence Killeen.

The James Joyce Centre celebrated the publication of an unusual exercise in “biblio-memoir” or “autobloomography” that answers the question of how one person can spend an entire life with one book.

During more than 50 years of reading, teaching, and writing about Joyce’s Ulysses, Michael Groden has often been asked why he has devoted so much time and energy to Joyce’s novel. Ulysses made an indelible impression when he first read it at the age of 19 – and the appeal has never waned throughout his life. In The Necessary Fiction: Life with James Joyce’s “Ulysses,” Groden offers a life story in relation to a single work of art and also a personal discussion of Ulysses for both new and experienced readers.


An Evening with Brendan Behan – Peter Sheridan performance

As part of Dr. Caroline Elbay’s Autumn / Winter Course “Old Bottles, New Wine” we were delighted to host an intimate performance on Wednesday 27th November 2019 of Peter Sheridan’s ‘An Evening with Brendan Behan’.

Brendan Behan has been dead for over fifty years now but it doesn’t feel that way. He is one of those characters that people talk about like he is still alive. Every taxi driver in Dublin had him in their car at one time or another. And everyone has their favourite Brendan Behan story. He once famously commented that the number of people who fought in the GPO in 1916 grew with the passing years. Whatever about that, his own reputation has grown since his passing in 1964.

The show presented scenes from his many works and from his landmark appearances on British and American television in the nineteen fifties.

“Sheridan is memorable, wonderfully comic” – Houston Chronicle

“You will leave this show wanting more” — Buffalo Times

Peter Sheridan is a native of Dublin City. He has been involved in the Irish theatre scene for over 40 years as an actor, writer, performer and director. He is the author of a number of plays and the book about his family, 44 A Dublin Memoir, was published to great acclaim in 1999 and he followed this with 47 Roses. His most recent book Break A Leg, was published in 2013. In the same year, Peter was the writer in residence at Farmleigh House. He tours the country regularly with his one-man shows which are based on his books.


Dublin Celebrates the Wake’s 80th Birthday: “Finnegans Wake at 80” by Derek Pyle

James Joyce Quarterly, Volume 56, Number 1-2, Fall 2018-Winter 2019, pp. 10-17 (Article)

Published by The University of Tulsa DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/jjq.2019.0029

Dublin Celebrates the Wake’s 80th Birthday: “Finnegans Wake at 80”; “Lucia Joyce: Perspectives”; “Text/Sound/Performance: Making in Canadian Space”; and “Finnegans Wake-End,” 11-13 April, 25-27 April, and 3-5 May, 2019 .

4 May 2019 marked eighty years since the first publication of Finnegans Wake, and this spring multiple events in Dublin celebrated the book’s impact, history, and continuing legacy. These events included “Finnegans Wake at 80,” an academic conference organized by Sam Slote at Trinity College; “Lucia Joyce: Perspectives,” an afternoon event following immediately after “Finnegans Wake at 80” and dedicated to Lucia Joyce, organized by Genevieve Sartor; the “Text/ Sound/Performance” conference at University College Dublin organized by Gregory Betts; and the James Joyce Centre’s “Finnegans Wake-End,” which took place during the 3-5 May bank-holiday weekend. When viewed as a whole, these events represent a significant turn in academic, artistic, and popular interest in and appreciation for Joyce’s final work.

To read this article in its entirety, please click below to download the PDF.


“Throwing Shapes: The Morphing Feminine in Joyce” – Dr. Caroline Elbay

The third talk in our Autumn/Winter lecture series at the James Joyce Centre took place on Monday 4th November 2019. We welcomed Dr. Caroline Elbay, and she gave her lecture entitled, “Throwing Shapes: The Morphing Feminine in Joyce”.

Dr. Elbay discussed in the Modernist literary context, the term ‘metamorphosis’ which elicits immediate associations with Franz Kafka’s novella The Metamorphosis (1915). In which the protagonist, a travelling salesman, Gregor Samsa, awakens one morning to discover that he has been transformed into a bug.

From the ‘bird girl’ and ‘bat-like soul’ of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, to the ‘cold nightsnake’ of Giacomo Joyce and the feminised Bloom in ‘Circe’, this lecture explored how, through metamorphosis – a shifting of form or maturing to adulthood – and anthropomorphism, many of James Joyce’s female (and feminine) characters represent both [wo]man and nation intent on liberation.

Dr. Caroline Elbay lectures at Champlain College Dublin and CEA Study Abroad (Dublin), where she teaches courses in Irish literature; Academic Writing; Popular Culture & Irish Identity; and Irish music. Caroline is the co-founder and facilitator of a life-long learning programme at The James Joyce Cultural Centre, Dublin.


“The Dubliners Dilemma” – Declan Gorman performance

On 16th October, as part of the 2019 Autumn/Winter Course with Dr. Caroline Elbay, the James Joyce Centre hosted a performance of Declan Gorman’s “The Dubliners Dilemma.”

It begins in London shortly before WW1, in the basement workroom of publisher Grant Richards, who had previously rejected ‘Dubliners’ out of worry it might breach strict obscenity laws. Now he re-reads the manuscript and recalls his uncomfortable correspondence with the truculent young genius. Should he reconsider and publish now? In all their magical glory, the stories of Dublin come to vivid life around him.

From Oslo to Mayo to Moscow, Declan Gorman’s performance based on James Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’ has enthralled audiences and critics nationally and internationally over the past seven years.


“Making Joyce – Translating Joyce for Live Theatre Performance” – Sinéad Murphy and Darina Gallagher

The second talk in our Autumn/Winter lecture series at the James Joyce Centre took place on Monday 14th October 2019. Sinéad Murphy and Darina Gallagher delivered their performative lecture on “Making Joyce – Translating Joyce for Live Theatre Performance”.

Sinéad and Darina’s lecture focused on their process of translating Joyce for theatre performance and included musical and textual extracts from Joyce’s work.

Over the last 9 years, Darina and Sinead have devised over 8 music-theatre shows exploring the work of James Joyce. Originally developing performances before copyright restrictions were lifted, they initially focused on evoking Joyce’s life and work through a musical soundscape of early 20th century Dublin.

Since then they have continued a musical and storytelling journey that aims to make Joyce accessible to new audiences and new performance spaces and that transcends educational, cultural and linguistic barriers. Their work explores themes such as language, politics, home, childhood and women and they have toured internationally from China to New York.


“Joyce in Performance” – Dr. Jonathan Creasy

For the first talk in our Autumn/Winter lecture series at the James Joyce Centre on Monday 16th September 2019, Dr. Jonathan Creasy delivered a talk on “Joyce in Performance.”

“He ought to have either died naturally or on the scaffold high. Like actresses, always farewell positively last performance then come up smiling again” – “Eumaeus”, Ulysses.

Jonathan’s talk explored the performative aspects of Joyce’s work from his play Exiles to the prose styles of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. It focussed on adaptations of Joyce’s work for music and stage, particularly John Cage’s Roaratorio, an Irish circus on Finnegans Wake and Mary Manning’s Passages from Finnegans Wake.

The event concluded with an improvised performance responding to Joyce’s work by guitarist-composer Benjamin Dwyer, Jonathan Creasy and Marty Gilroy. Benjamin Dwyer is a member of Aosdána and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London. He is Professor of Music at Middlesex University, London. Marty Gilroy is a PhD candidate at University College Dublin, exploring post-crash literature.

Jonathan has a PhD in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin. He worked at the Joyce Centre variously between 2008 to 2016 and is currently working on a post-doctoral project at University College Dublin funded by the Irish Research Council. He lectures at UCD in English and Creative Writing.

He is Editor-in-Chief at New Dublin Press, a reporter for The History Show on RTÉ Radio 1 as well as producer and presenter of The Writers’ Room. His book, The Black Mountain Letters, is published by Dalkey Archive Press and he has books forthcoming with New York’s New Directions and University of New Mexico Press. 

Creasy’s films include the forthcoming feature documentaries, An Inconvenient Masterpiece and Almost Home: Explorations on the Border. 


Culture Night 2019 – follow the D.N.A. of the City

With so much happening on Culture Night, it’s good to have a theme for your evening of unwrapping Culture in the city. Why not follow the Dublin Northside Attractions trail, made up of some of the city’s most vibrant attractions that are a key not only to the character of Dublin city but also to its people and the people of Ireland.

You could start at the James Joyce Centre. Get closer to James Joyce, one of Ireland’s greatest modern writers. Read the opening episode of Ulysses from 4-6pm. Join an “Introducing James Joyce” talk and walking tour at 5.30pm and 7.00pm. Enjoy a behind the scenes tour of the Centre, complete with readings from Joyce’s works, at 5.15pm, 6.15pm,  7.15pm and 9.15pm. Experience “Songs of Joyce” performed by delightful sirens Sinead Murphy and Darina Gallagher at 8pm in the stunning Kenmare Room. 

Round the corner at 14 Henrietta Street, DabbledooMusic presents ‘Float Down The Liffey’; a unique live music and film screening.

Pop by the National Botanic Gardens for some ‘behind-the-scenes’ tours of parts of the Gardens that you wouldn’t normally get to visit, including the Palm House and the Library & National Herbarium.

Glasnevin is the final resting place of many iconic figures. Come along to Glasnevin Cemetery Museum and hear their stories by joining a tour of Daniel O’Connell’s crypt.

Visit Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane for a night of culture, music, film screenings, art workshops, quick tours and lots more! The Hugh Lane Gallery is one of Dublin’s finest galleries in the heart of the historic north city centre.

Come explore the 1916 Easter Rising, War of Independence, Civil War, the peace process and more in the GPO Witness History award-winning visitor centre! 

Croke Park is the home of Gaelic games and it holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Irish people. Take a tour of the GAA Museum and Croke Park, Europe’s third largest stadium to learn more about this iconic arena.

Finally, why not book a taster tour for EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, recently named Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction.

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