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A celebration of Bloomsday and YeatsDay

To celebrate two of Ireland’s literary giants, the Embassy of Ireland hosted events in early June 2015 in Washington for Bloomsday, honouring James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, and Yeatsday, which marked the 150th anniversary of William Butler Yeats’ birth. It was an opportunity to mark these two occasions together and celebrate two great writers.

Bloomsday & YeatsDay at Dupont CircleDuring the day time, the Embassy hosted a lunchtime event in Dupont Circle, which consisted of selected music and readings from both Yeats and Joyce. John Feeley, Ireland’s leading classical guitarist and Fran O’Rourke, a singer and professor of philosophy at University College Dublin performed a selection of music related to Joyce and Yeats.  The event was widely successful and it was a pleasure to see so many participants dressed in period costumes, courtesy of the annual Washington DC Bloomsday Bike Rally who rode into the event.  

Bloomsday & YeatsDay Senator Markey at the Cosmos Club In the evening, the audience at the Cosmos Club enjoyed selections from Joyce and Yeats’ work, including further performances from John Feeley and Fran O’Rourke.  Congressman Neal, Senator Markey and the Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes read from Yeats’ poetry.  Terry Cross-Davis of the Folger Shakespeare Library read from Ulysses.  

Bloomsday & YeatsDay : “Play for voices",written by Joe HassettThe world premiere took place of a short play, involving an encounter between Yeats and Joyce, written by Joe Hassett.   The play, entitled “Play for voices” brought their stories to life and the display of talent brilliantly captured the essence of both writers and their impact on Irish literature as a whole. 

Bloomsday & YeatsDay: Ambassador Anne AndersonThe Embassy would like to convey a particular thanks to all of the speakers, musicians, and event participants who helped make the Bloomsday and Yeatsday celebration so successful. The audiences were hugely impressed with the entertainment that paid homage to two Irish writers of such genius.