Two different suggestions today from Labour politicians about appropriate ways to mark Bloomsday. Joe Costello notes that Ireland has one of the lowest numbers of public holidays in Europe (9 per year, only exceeding the 8 of England and Wales) and suggests that making the day a holiday could provide cultural and economic benefits (through providing a focus for literary tourism, perhaps by introducing a literary festival):
I believe that the extraordinary literary tradition of this country should be marked by an annual public holiday around which a major festival of literature would be developed.
A public holiday to celebrate our literary heritage could also be extended to Northern Ireland because of its rich literary tradition too and could become an all island festival of literature and culture.
Aodhán Ó Ríordáin pushes in another (though not incompatible direction, in noting the high level of problems with literacy in many parts of Dublin, and calling for a ‘culture of literacy’:
“Dublin has a rich literary tradition and is recognised the world over because of the brilliant writers we have produced. In addition, Dublin is also a Unesco City of Literature and we are home to the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It is now incumbent on this Government to ensure that we build on these traditions by greatly enhancing our children’s capacity for literacy.
“I believe that fostering a culture of literacy in this city would the most fitting tribute to our great literary giants. It is my hope therefore, that when we celebrate Bloomsday in years to come everyone on this island can truly appreciate the literary genius of Joyce and just maybe inspire a child to create a masterpiece of their own.”
Today’s Galway Advertiser also has an interesting piece from John Morley, providing a sketch of Joyce’s connections with Galway, via Nora.