Tag Archives: Lemon Soap

Joyce’s Bloomsday Crawl!

The weather obliged, thankfully, permitting many to dress in Edwardian-period clothes  and brighten up events. From early on people gathered for a breakfast of mutton kidneys in various restaurants and pubs, before starting to make their way along the route set-out in James Joyce’s Ulysses. The celebration of one of the most famous days in literature has grown from a tiny beginning in 1954 to become a worldwide event. From Auckland to Arklow, Sydney to Skibbereen and New York to Nenagh groups arranged events to remember the great writer, something that is growing with each passing year.

DSC02843

Outside Sweny’s Pharmacy

DSC02851

Hats, hats, everywhere…

Around one o’clock I met a few friends and we made our way to Sweny’s Pharmacy on Lincoln Place.  The place was packed with a babel of accents filling the tiny, time-warped pharmacy. The strong smell of lemon soap wafted onto the street where a large crowd gathered to hear  Shane Egan reading The Bloomsday Boys. Having written the short story, I was delighted to see and hear it performed in Dublin on the big day, and Shane certainly did it justice. His strong, clear projection brought the story to life as he moved about the packed pavement.  He was dressed in a black suit, white shirt, black tie and, of course, a black bowler hat – his image neat and convincing. The crowd listened in rapt attention as Shane began; then laughed at the antics of the characters in the story, before breaking into a rousing  version of Cockles & Mussels  at the end. I was absolutely thrilled with the performance, and  I’d like to think that JJ himself would have approved, and  tipped his hat in acknowledgement. It was, indeed, a great Blooming day!

IMG_7597

Me & Shane

DSC02861

Bloomsday revellers

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Dublin, James Joyce

James Joyce’s bar of Lemon Soap

Hi there,

I was in Sweny’s Chemist recently and the smell of lemon soap was strong and wonderful. In James Joyce’s most famousSweny's Chemist book, Ulysses, the main character, Leopold Bloom, enters the old shop and buys a bar of lemon soap and carries it in his pocket like a talisman throughout the day (now celebrated worldwide as Bloomsday, June 16). Although no longer a chemist shop, you can still buy a bar of lemon soap and sample the atmosphere that Joyce and his contemporaries were familiar with. The shop is unchanged and is a ‘must see’ for all Joycean fans. And for those not so literary specific it is a great chance to open the front door and step back in time. The fittings, glass jars and many uncollected prescriptions give the place an air of authenticity that is unique and memorable. Readings of Joyce’s books are held each week and are free and open to visitors – enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Dublin, James Joyce