Monthly Archives: June 2013

James Joyce Lost on Sandymount Strand?

MINIThere is a sculpture dedicated to James Joyce at the northern end of Sandymount Strand (see photo at left) that does not appear on maps of Joyce’s Dublin. It received no mention in the recent Bloomsday celebrations. And it is nearly nonexistent to the all-seeing eye of Google.

On a trip to Dublin for Bloomsday 2012 I walked to Sandymount Strand from the city through Sean Moore Park and was struck by a tall rough-hewn stone pillar where the grass field gives way to beach sand. I saw nothing identifying the sculpture, which resembled a massive single open quotation mark. Was this obelisk erected to mark the spot very nearby where Leopold Bloom stopped to enjoy a particular seaside girl on June 16, 1904? Or was it a protest by a typographic trade union of Joyce’s expulsion of quotation marks from his fiction?

I left Dublin without an answer.

But on June 10 this year during the Joyce Bus Tour sponsored by the James Joyce Centre, James Quin gave me an answer. He said the stone pillar was the work of Irish sculptor Cliodna Cussen and it had a name: “A Sundial for James Joyce.”

I returned to Sandymount Strand this Bloomsday morning as part of my celebratory peregrinations and revisited the stone. To my surprise it had a squat companion marker a few yards away that I had somehow overlooked a year before. These words are carved on the marker: ‘AN GALLÁN GRÉINE do JAMES JOYCE’ – which literally translates as ‘a solar pillar for James Joyce.’

A web search, however, turned up very little about Cussen and this Joyce sculpture. A scholarly article noted that it was dedicated on Dec. 16, 1983, as part of a project to mark the location of the rising sun on the winter solstice. (See “Time of Solstice Sandymount Strand, Dublin: Twentieth-Century Stonehenge,” Rosangela Barone, James Joyce Quarterly, Spring 1985.) This post and the photos accompanying are here to raise the profile of this striking feature on Dublin’s Joycean landscape.

But the mystery remains as to why this tribute to Joyce is so little recognized today. Has it just been lost in a city strewn with history and tributes and markers? Or is the sundial another example of Ireland’s somewhat estranged relationship with its most famous runaway son? — Steve Cole

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here Lies Paddy Dignam: Glasnevin Cemetery

Spent a wonderful quiet morning this past Bloomsday Week traipsing alone through Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, where James Joyce famously buried Paddy Dignam in Ulysses. A beautiful sprawling labyrinth it is. — Steve Cole

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Gleaning Leopold Bloom from ‘Ulysses’

From the Afterword of The Works of Master Poldy, published June 2013 by The Salvage Press, Dublin.



Assembling “The Works of Master Poldy” out of the single day James Joyce gives us in Ulysses of Leopold Bloom’s life begins with scavenging. Molly Bloom, who conceived of this book and this book title, would have had years of quips and quirks from her “Poldy” to chose from if she had attempted this book. So you take a slow, careful walk along the streambed and shoreline of the book searching for Bloom, bending low to pick up the bits of color and curve and consciousness that Joyce scattered across 13 chapters.

The words of “Master Poldy” that fill your cupped hands are a mosaic riot. Joyce gives us very few of his hero’s spoken words, despite Bloom’s reputation as an incessant talker. There are shards of thoughts, strings of observations, and reflections of Bloom from various narrative mirrors that he is not even aware of.

The world of “Master Poldy” that shines through this chaos reveals a man – every man – in full. All these gleanings together are Bloom. So every fragment I could fit is here that shone any light on him. The fragments are strung together in free-flowing association, ignoring their original order in Ulysses, to form a new representation of Bloom that is beyond or above Joyce’s own handiwork.

The canvas we chose for this new portrait is the largest available in a printed book: the spread, the two facing pages that your eyes take in all at once. Our medium: pure typography, letters liberated from the uniformity imposed by mass production and now by ebook efficiency. Through Jamie Murphy’s imaginative design the reader of “Master Poldy” encounters for the first time a new relationship with the printed world.

Each of the 12 page spreads in the book presents a different view of Bloom in his world. He appears on one side as a poem-like stream alone, his voice rendered in quiet human-scale type. On the facing page is the big blaring world, a passage from Ulysses not necessarily of Bloom but evocative of what is streaming through him on the facing page.

“The Works of Master Poldy” is my tribute to the liberating vision of Ulysses, the heroic aliveness of Leopold Bloom, and the beauty of print culture.

— Stephen Cole, editor

See pages from Master Poldy online at:

Master Poldy can be ordered online at:



Your Bloomsday Playlist (version 1.0)

Cream: Brave UlyssesWhat modern tunes come to mind when you think of James Joyce’s Ulysses? We crowdsourced that question on Facebook and Twitter and got a great and varied response – not surprising when you consider the wide range of moods, ideas, and characters in Ulysses. Below in no particular order is version 1.0. We plan to post playlist version 2.0 on Bloomsday based on your comments. Let us hear from you!

Radiohead: How to Disappear Completely

The Beatles: A Day in the Life

The Smiths: Oscillate Wildly

Syd Barrett: Goldenhair

Tom Waits: Long Way Home

The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour

Boomtown Rats: Rat Trap

Kylie Minogue: Can’t Get You Out of My Head

U2: Beautiful Day

Franz Ferdinand: Ulysses

David Bowie: Fantastic Voyage

U2: Breathe

Led Zeppelin: Ramble On

Bob Marley: Natty Dread

Cream: Tales of Brave Ulysses