Google to embark on epic Bloomsday ramble across the world

14 Jun 2013

Pictured: The artist as a young man, James Joyce himself

Internet giant Google is to mark Bloomsday this Sunday – the celebration of the day in James Joyce’s Ulysses when Leopold Bloom and Nora Barnacle sauntered through South Dublin – with a series of readings from Ulysses in 25 cities around the world via Google+ Hangouts

At 8.30pm tomorrow (15 June) on the eve of Bloomsday (16 June), the Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí and Bob Joyce, the grandnephew of James Joyce, will speak with actors Michael Neill and Michael Hurst in Auckland in a Google+ hangout on air which will be followed by the first live reading from Auckland via the James Joyce Centre YouTube Channel.  All global readings will be streamed via the YouTube live event platform.

Following the sun, 25 worldwide cities are participating in the global readings – Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Moscow, Pula, Zurich, Trieste, Edinburgh, Bangor, Dublin, Derry, Cork, London, Sao Paulo, Santa Maria, New York, Boston, Chicago, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, and San Francisco.

Across the globe, passages from Ulysses will be read live from James Joyce foundations, Bloomsday clubs, Irish arts organisations, schools, radio stations, public libraries, cafes and more. 

The O’ Brien Press recently published Dublin illustrated edition of Ulysses (1922 text) will be read from each city and all passages will be read in English.  Ulysses will be read in its entirety.

Global impact

First Bloomday 1954

Pictured on the occasion of the very first Bloomsday in Sandyford in 1954 were the pillars of the Irish literary establishent of that time: John Ryan, Anthony Cronin, Brian O’Nolan, Patrick Kavanagh and James Joyce’s cousin Tom Joyce.

“This is the first time that Ulysses has been read cover to cover across different time zones and different countries,” said Sophie Walsh, Google Ireland.

“The event will be launched with a Google+ Hangout between Dublin and Auckland – the first reading centre – and then every hour or so, new YouTube Live Events will go live. 

“Readings of Ulysses will be streamed across YouTube from places as diverse as Melbourne, New York, Singapore and Boston creating a unique online experience.  It’s fantastic that so many individuals and organisations have joined together to celebrate the impact that one Irish writer has made on the world,” Walsh said.


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years