Bloomsday in the Barn. By Craig Anderson.
For the sixth year in a row, Bloomsday in the Barn, which was recently held on Sunday 10th June, kicked off to be another cracking day of collection favorite works by Dublin Novelists James Joyce. This event was hosted just beside Our Lady Of Dolores Church, here in the Dublin 8 area.This event which celebrates the works of Irish writer James Joyce, has become an annual and well-loved event by the locals of Dublin 8 and is now becoming a yearly event in most areas across the city. This event here in the barn which is usually organised by local Actor Michael Judd, with the help of local businesses and Dublin City Council focuses on the works of James Joyce, the celebrated Dublin author of Ulysses and the Dubliners, as well as other works.
Michael Judd (pictured), who has organized many a great shows in and around the Dublin 8 area hosted a selection of fellow actors and actresses to give the Dublin 8 area a a pleasant afternoon of readings, re-enactments and performances of Joyce’s works, as well as refreshments donated to them by local business including the Kimmage Supervalu, Dolphin’s Barn Tesco Express and Dolphin Barn’s Spar.
Primebling photographer and contributor Craig Anderson, spoke to Michael Judd about the event and what it meant to the local area. Michael graciously spared a few minutes to speak to us about the event and had these words to say about Bloomsday in the Barn..
“It’s about celebrating a Dublin writer (Joyce), in a Dublin area (Dolphin’s Barn) and with the people of Dublin.” Michael went on to say with a large smile on his face once the event had ended.
When it came to the overall event, Michael’s cheery demeanour and jokes kept the crowd laughing away as he introduced a selection of amazing actors and actresses from his long career.
Michael’s, words sang through as I spent the entire time there speaking with the good people of Dublin. Our new Dublin, a multicultural community that allows everyone to attend. From the moment I entered the venue, I was greeted by a lovely woman who offered me a waistcoat and a hat. I didn’t go for the waistcoat, but the bowler hat did allow me to feel like I was in the early 1900s.
The venue was nicely done, with a large spacious marquee for seating and shade, and a smaller stall set up for food and drink. The event began with a small reading from Ulysses, which was read by an old friend of Michael Judd. All the actors and actresses recounted the words of James Joyce in such a way that the man himself would approve of. As with many public events based on James Joyce and his works, a great many people came dressed in period clothing. Descendants of a family mentioned in one of Joyce’s works were present on the day, and actually managed to win the Best Dressed awards.
The food and drink were, as I said before, provided to the event by the Supervalu in Kimmage, the Tesco Express on Dolphin’s Barn, and the Spar Shop also on Dolphin’s Barn. It’s nice to see that big businesses are still happy to donate toward community events in any way they can and that they do care enough to join into their communities properly. Pastries and cakes were given out to the event goers, as well as tea, coffee, soft drinks and water. The refreshments were quite refreshing thanks to the warm weather, and I can attest to sampling a croissant, which was beautiful.
The weather was one of the many things that contributed to the good moods and great atmosphere of the day. The sun was shining, there was barely any clouds in the sky and there was minimal traffic, which allowed the performances to go smoothly. There were one or two moments where the traffic deepened and the noise levels elevated, but they were small and in-between. The park was lovely and clean, thanks to the local volunteers who always maintain the beauty of the park. A small breeze occasionally flew through the venue, which truly allowed us to feel the summer’s day.
Michael’s choices of actors and actresses really showed the eclectic mix of styles and language used in Joyce’s works. A couple of small musical numbers were placed in-between the acts, allowing us to tap our feet and occasionally sing along (not myself, since I sound like a braying donkey when I sing. I apologise to anyone who has heard me singing karaoke) to the songs that were on offer. A small puppet show done near the end of the event really brought me back to the days of childhood when puppet shows were done in local communities a lot, though not with the scenes of Joyce’s works.
To finish up this small piece on the Bloomsday in the Barn 2018 event, I will say this as someone who grew up in the Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 area.
Events like Bloomsday are important to the feel of the community and to the essence of what it means to be a Dubliner. Growing up, I heard stories of the communities of Dublin. Places were men and women could leave their doors unlocked and neighbors looked out for one another. It’s easy now to believe that those days are done, until you come to something like Bloomsday. Men and women catching up with the young and old in their areas, as well as new friends entering into our lives shows us that the Dublin truly is thriving.
I know some of the locations in the Dublin 8 area don’t have the greatest reputation,( May I add only a small percent) and I’ve come to accept the fact that people’s perception of Dublin 8 won’t change in a day, but I’m hoping that these events can show that we’re not what people think we are. I grew up in Fatima Mansions. I went to school with lads from Dolphin House, St. Theresa’s Gardens, Oliver Bond and Basin Lane flats. I’ve seen the good in people from this area. I’ve seen the families that happily settle down in our area. I’ve seen how new cultures have nestled into our communities and been welcomed with open arms. I’ve seen an Iman, A community Muslin leader, break bread with priests, and I’ve seen Muslim men and women embrace the Dublin way of going on.
Dublin 8, is one of my favorite places in the world. Be it hanging around the Rialto area or dropping into Lowe’s public house on for a pint, or to the Arch Café in St. Anthony’s Road for a brekkie roll. Dropping into Thomas and Meath Street to do a little shopping or heading on a walk through the canals on a sunny day to feed the ducks and swans. Bloomsday to some people is a celebration of Joyce’s work, but to me, it’s a celebration of Dublin and the ways of the Dubliners. Be they Dublin born, or someone who enters our communities from other parts of our country or different countries altogether. Dublin has always been a beacon for the world. We’re a port city, so we’ve always had people in and out.
All in all, Bloomsday is a celebration of what it means to live in Dublin. What it means to be part of a community. Bloomsday is what we are. Dubliners!!!!!
On A Personal Note:
I’m still new to writing these blog entries, so forgive me if I seem to be simplifying things on the event. Bloomsday is something that many Dubliners know and love. We love anything that we can link back to our county. Joyce’s works are considered one of those things that elevated us to the rest of the world. As a Dubliner myself, I’ve read and loved the works of Joyce and spending an afternoon listening to people re-enact those iconic scenes and dialogue made me smile completely. I’m sorry to say I was focused so much on enjoying myself, I didn’t happen to catch every performer’s name. As I’ve said, I’m still quite new to this blogging thing.
Image Credits: Craig Anderson.