97 years ago today, on a Thursday, in the Ringsend district of Dublin, James Joyce, Irish author of the titanic novels Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, first went walking with Nora Barnacle, the woman who was to become his wife.

Joyce memorialized the occasion by setting the action of Ulysses, his retelling of Homer's The Odyssey, completely within the hours of June 16, 1904.

Twenty years later, on June 27, 1924, in a letter written to his patron and friend, Harriet Shaw Weaver, Joyce mentioned:

"...a group of people who observe what they call Bloom's day--16 June. They sent me hortensias, white and blue, dyed."
White and blue are the colors of the Greek flag and Joyce chose them for the cover of the first edition of Ulysses (which was published in paperback, believe it or not).

Bloomsday is today an international celebration. Ulysses is often read aloud in one great auditory rush (it can be done); Guinness is consumed in vast quantities; and, often as not, heads are scratched in confusion and wonderment.

And Spring's perpetual return to Summer and fecundity are celebrated by one and all.

Shades of Joyce:

a nice cool glass of Joyce
Anna Livia Plurabelle
Cashel Boyle O'Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell
Finnegans Wake
Finn MacCool
Garry Owen
Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker
Issy the Teenage Rainbow
June 16, 2001
Lucia Joyce
Mina Purefoy
Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress
Shem the Penman
Ulysses is not pornography
Volta Cinema