Posted in Bloom's day, Irish theatre, James Joyce, Malachy McCourt, Origins Theatre Company, Sean Mahon

What does June 16th mean to you?

There are just 198 days that follow to the end of the year. 

Thorsten Pohl Thpohl – Own work

But, the significance of June 16th to the lit. crowd is that in 1924 James Joyce declared it to be Bloomsday. June 16, 1904 is the date of the events in his very long novel “Ulysses” and the day is named for its protagonist Leopold Bloom. 

June 16, 2014 Origin’s First Bloom at Bloom’s Taven of course.
Photo by Jimmy Higgins.

Bloomsday, or for the Irish purists, Lá Bloom, is most often commemmorated with readings from the novel. In the interest of full disclosure and total honesty, I will admit that what I know of the work is from NPR’s presentation of the annual Symphony Space event. 

Origin Theatre Company, a New York City “gateway for European playwrights,” hosted its first ever Lá Bloom at the new midtown tavern aptly named Bloom’s. The bar provided an excellent full Irish breakfast and 7:30am mimosas served by a friendly staff; costumed actors greeted arrivals with flowers and flower petals. 

Malachy McCourt, gracious and charming, was on hand to kick off the readings. He chose a passage about Hell from Joyce’s “The Governors” but tweaking tradition is a lovely thing to do.  Ireland’s soon to be ex-Consul General, Noel Kilkenny told of his role in interpreting “Ulysses” for a Chinese translation long ago. Actors including Conor MacNeill (currently on Broadway in the “The Cripple of Inishmaan”), Sean Mahon (who starred on Broadway in “The Seafarer” and “The 39 Steps” and is featured in the film “Philomena”), Jo Kinsella (“For Love,” and the Irish Rep’s “Dancing at Lughnasa”) performed their Joycean catechisms with the joy befitting the day.

Here’s to the second annual Origin Bloomsday! A resounding chorus of what was dubbed “Origin’s First Bloom, at Bloom’s Tavern, of course” rang out at the festivities.

Learn more about the Origin Theatre Company by going to their website, Bloom’s Tavern is located at 208 East 58th Street, and on the web at