Bloomsday on Bondi 2012

18 Jun 2012

The heart of Irish Sydney, Bondi Beach, became the centre of annual Bloomsday celebrations for the first time recently at an event hosted by UNSW.

Bloomsday is celebrated world-wide to mark June 16, 1904, the day James Joyce chose to set his modernist masterpiece, Ulysses. This year, the beach location was chosen for the all-day celebration because of its significance to Australia’s Irish diaspora.

“Bloomsday has long been marked in Sydney, but this is the first time that the famous Bondi Beach has become the centre for festivities,” said Professor Rónán McDonald, Director of UNSW’s Global Irish Studies Centre, the host of the event.

“The sea and the beach feature prominently in Joyce's novel, so the setting is appropriate, but also because of the number of Irish backpackers and migrants that have made Bondi their temporary or permanent home,” he said.

The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, read from the iconic book along with former federal minister Susan Ryan, writers Mark Dapin, Ursula Dubosarsky and Suzanne Leal, literary journalist Susan Wyndham, poet Jamie Grant and actor Chris Haywood.

James Joyce's Ulysses is widely regarded as one of the greatest novels ever written.

“As time goes by we see more that it's a novel of, and for, the world – the first truly 'global' novel,” said Professor McDonald. “It is a great privilege to be able to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the book’s publication in this way.”

Bloomsday on Bondi was organised by the Centre, the Consulate General of Ireland and the Irish Echo Newspaper.