Saturday, 9 June 2018

All about Bloomsday in Bruff Saturday 16th June.. a few paragraphs to scroll down but worth it!

All about Bloomsday in Bruff, a few paragraphs to scroll through, but a real flavour of the day…   and by the way please spread the word….please share…
Every Bloomsday is different, but maybe this year the one in Bruff, Co. Limerick will be exceptional. To begin with we have two superb venues, the renovated and atmospheric Church of Ireland building on Main Street, Bruff and this year another wonderful venue the beautifully restored F.C.J Convent now known as The Kennedy Rooms ( also in Bruff.
Bloomsday in Bruff has something for everyone….  and you don’t need to be an expert on Joyce to really enjoy the day!

We start off at 11.15am on the steps of the Church of Ireland where award winning actress, Mary Harvey and Cllr.Gerald Mitchell - Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Cappamore-Kilmallock, will perform the opening ceremony. We will then go in to the Church of Ireland for words, music and good food (catering for a full Joycean Breakfast by The Bakehouse Restaurant, (

After we finish our Breakfast, we will then stroll through Bruff/Dublin/Ulysses, a short walk with stops including the bookies, McAuliffe’s, to hear about the Gold Cup at Ascot in 1904, and maybe have a bet on the Gold Cup.  the chemist O’Connors/Swenys, where you will hear about Leopold perambulations about the town, and have an opportunity to buy some Lemon Scented soap, a stop at Clancy’s Bar to hear a reading from Portrait of an Artist, as George Clancy/Davin and James Joyce/Stephen argue about patriotism, and to hang a wreath to acknowledge the friendship of James Joyce and George Clancy  and finally maybe a pause outside Derry’s Bar/Barney Kiernans Bar to get a taste of The Cyclops Chapter and an argument about nationality and anti-semitism……

and then on to the Kennedy Rooms, pausing to watch and cheer children’s games and maybe the odd game of croquet on the lawn, entering the building by the elegant main entrance, admiring some of the sights and artefacts on the way, to the Brian Boru Bar, where we will partake of a glass of Burgundy and a morsel of Gorgonzola, whilst being entertained with words and music…..

and then to our Triestine Cafe, where the cheesecake and coffee will be served in the sumptuous surroundings, again to hear wonderful words and live music, from Jazz to Viennese Waltz, with local singers and also musicians from the Irish Chamber Orchestra…. and at some stage a talk to bring it all together, making connections….   maybe the finish will come with a traditional communal singing of  Just a Song at Twilight or/and Molly’s soliloquoy…. also hear part of a short story from Dubliner’s, a rendition of rarely heard Gas from a Burner, Joyce at his amusing and sarcastic best….  all this between the first words of Ulysses and the last words of the book….  yes, it will be a great day…. yes and as always there will be more… 
…at  the end of a wonderful Bloomsday, you will have learnt and enjoyed so much about one of Ireland’s, and indeed the worlds, finest writers…    and you will have become an honorary Joycean!

We start the day at approx 11.15 outside the Church of Ireland, Main Street, Bruff and we will finish in the Brian Boru bar…  at about 5.30 or there a-bouts .
As with Leopold Blooms wandering about Dublin on June 16th, our wanderings and events on Bloomsday in Bruff will be flexible… we will try and squeeze everything in….  
but don’t miss a moment…
further details from 087 212 7521 or email…  a place at the Joycean Breakfast must be booked in advance ….
If anyone in the town would like to participate in any way, by stewarding, serving drinks, coffee or cheesecake, by offering a prize for a raffle, (this last particularly applies to the business community in the town)…   come along and support this most distinctive local celebration.

Friday, 25 May 2018

A flavour of a past Bloomsday in Bruff

Some recollections below of a past Bloomsday... tickets for this years Bloomsday’s Joycean 
Breakfast are going quickly and must be booked in advance via 087 2127521 or email
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With best wishes received from fellow Joycean’s in Rome, Trieste, New York (Alphie McCourt), Dublin, (The James Joyce Centre) and from Pula in Croatia, (where Joyce spent some time before settling in Trieste), Bloomsday in Bruff began on the steps of the historic Church of Ireland, the oldest building in Bruff. Bloomsday,  the 16th June, commemorates the day James Joyce met his wife in 1904. This is the ninth year of celebration in Bruff.
Donal Thurlow, Director of the Festival, welcomed everyone, and commented on how magnificent everyone looked, dressed in their 1904 style finery, with many ladies wearing wonderful hats that out-shined anything at Leopardstown or Ascot.
The school choir from Scoil Dean Cussen were first to entertain. They sang several songs accompanied by their musicians, including their alternative National Anthem, which they had sung as finalists in the National Concert Hall, and were appreciated with great applause.
As usual,  Bruff’s own Mary Harvey, stage and screen actor, declared the festival open with some aplomb, which she did this year, by arriving in a vintage, miniature, fire engine. Cllr. Bill O’Donnell, Cathaoirleach of the Municipal District of Cappamore-Kilmallock and Gerald Mitchell, Deputy Mayor of the City and County of Limerick were both present. Cllr. O’Donnell, a supporter of the festival since its inception, also welcomed everybody.
Those who had been lucky enough to purchase tickets in advance, went into the church for the sold out ‘Joycean Breakfast’,  liver and kidneys included!  Whilst breakfast was served Jade and Noreen of ‘Dolce’ entertained with songs from Joyce. In the hall there was an exhibition of books by and about James Joyce, including rare and valuable first editions. In introducing items, the fact that this was the 100th anniversary of “Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man” was noted as were the many connections and mentions relating to Limerick in the works of Joyce. The friendship between George Clancy, Mayor of Limerick (on which the character of Davin in ‘Portrait’ is based, was noted. Limerick Lace, the lady of Ballyhoura, Garryowen are amongst many other references to Limerick in the works of Joyce. 
The winner of the Gold Cup in Ascot in 1904, was a horse called Throwaway, and Joyce used this fact as an important part of the plot in Ulysses. As this years Gold Cup Race was taking place on Bloomsday this year, the assembled crowd squeezed into Paddy McAuliffe’s Bookmakers, on the Main Street, to hear a short talk about the event and the relevant excerpt read by Mick Lacy. Proceedings then moved on to Clancy’s Pub, for readings, music, and film excerpts, accompanied as is traditional with gorgonzola and red wine. Readers, included Mick Lacey, Mairtin O’Briain and  Nenagh Writers Group, (who performed a play written by Austin Kenny).
You require some stamina to complete a full Bloomsday, and just as the crowd began to thin out, the excellent Brass Quintet, “No Strings Attached” set up to perform. Their programme included a special version of ‘Mise Eire’ by Sean O’Riada, who gave his first public performance as a musician,  in the hall in Bruff. (the family lived in Bruff where his Garda father was stationed).
. But we need not have worried about an audience, as the doors burst open and a coach load of wandering Joycean’s, arrived from their Bloomsday meanderings, to add their singing and enthusiasm.
Celebrations continued in various hostelries and venues until the wee small hours….   casual visitors did not express much surprise upon walking in to a pub in Bruff, and finding well dressed people (in the styles of 1904) deep in discussion about the works of James Joyce…   its what you expect in Bruff every 16th of June!

Note: ‘The two murdered mayors’, is still a familiar Limerick expression, particularly among older citizens. George Clancy was elected as Mayor of Limerick in January 1921 and Michael O’Callaghan had served in that office in the previous year. Both men were killed by British military forces in the small hours of Monday 7 March 1921.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018


We are back with Bloomsday in Bruff...   hear all about a local connection, readings, songs and music and of course our famous Joycean breakfast. More exciting details to follow...   Bruff transformed for Leopold Blooms travels on the day, and so much more......  BOOKINGS FOR THE JOYCEAN BREAKFAST (numbers are limited and usually go quickly)  IN THE WONDERFUL CHURCH OF IRELAND BUILDING IN BRUFF VIA
 087 2127521