Friday, June 09, 2006

New York Prepares Bloomsday Rites; Festival Season Now in High Gear

NEW YORK -- Bloomsday, the 102nd anniversary of Leopold Bloom’s walk around downtown Dublin city center, is being celebrated worldwide Friday; here in New York, the annual reading is at the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre of Symphony Space, 95th Street and Broadway, with tickets at $20 for nonmembers. More details are available at Symphony Space's site and

But there’s more to Joyce than just "Ulysses." Indeed, there is a group of Joyce enthusiasts in Somerville, Mass., who are committed to reading "Finnegan’s Wake" -- they’ve been at it for 10 years, a page or two at a time, and the group’s founder, Eric Jespersen estimates that they are halfway through. They try to read a page a week, accompanied by a pint of Guinness, and Jespersen estimates they should be finished in 2021. More details are available at National Public Radio's site.

Our estimation is that with this group consuming so much Guinness, it might not be a bad idea to invest now. Today’s stock price on the New York Stock Exchange was 67.25 for DEO, the parent company, down 1.08 from June 7. Check your portfolio at the New York Stock Exchange's site.

This weekend here in the Big Apple is the 8th Annual Staten Island Irish Fair, benefiting the St. Columcille Irish Cultural Center of Staten Island. For details, go to Staten Island Irish's site. Directions to the fairgrounds, at 599 Father Capodanno Blvd., are available on the website. More on this later.

Other Irish festivals this weekend: the Irish Connections Festival, Canton, Mass., details at; the Riverfront Irish Festival presented by the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, details at; and, Wednesday through the 18th, the Dublin Writers Festival, details at To see more on festivals upcoming and past, go to The list there is comprehensive.

And finally, with all the attention given to Joyce and Bloomsday in June, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that William Butler Yeats, a founder of the 19th century Celtic Revival, and of Dublin's Abbey Theatre, has a birthday Tuesday. He would have been blowing out 141 candles on his cake this year. Usually, the Yeats Society of New York has a reading of his poetry to celebrate; this year, Poet Pass By! was scheduled for January, to commemorate his death, but was cancelled. -- Patricia Jameson-Sammartano, WGT Culture Editor

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