Thursday, June 16, 2022


It has been the custom for some years now to celebrate Bloomsday at the Killiney Martello Tower on Killiney Hill Road.

In 2020 and 2021 this was a purely online affaire due to the pandemic, and sadly in 2022, due to the death of Niall O'Donoghue who owned and restored the tower, it will have to be online again. Niall had been thinking of having an in-person event, but that was not to be.

I had been involved in these events and I didn't want to see Bloomsday 2022 pass without some acknowledgement, so I have recorded (or podcasted as it might be described today) a version of a talk I gave in the Tower on Bloomsday 2019 on the translation of Joyce's "Chamber Music" into French.

You might think music does not require translating, but this is a series of love poems Joyce wrote and only one of which he actually put to music himself, though others have stepped up to fill the gap in the meantime.


Photo: Pat Mortimer

For the hard of hearing, or those who don't like the sound of my voice, the original text of the talk can be found here.

And if you want to study the text of the poems and of the two translations, you can get them in full here.

Niall in the Gunner's Cottage in 2015
recording a tribute to David Hedigan

Niall died during one of his favourite activities, swimming in Killiney Bay, on 8 May 2022. A funeral service was held in Ballybrack RC church on 13 May 2022 and you can find a recording of it here.

[The original recording seems to have vanished from the parish website so I am linking here to an upload on my youtube channel.]

The service consisted of a number of eulogies and some excellent music. The actual religious element was briefly present at the end.

I have known Niall for over a decade and the eulogies, apart from my own, were a revelation to me. Had I known earlier as much as I learned during that service, I would have been so in awe of Niall that I probably would not have been able to collaborate with him as I did.

I have combined the text of the eulogies into a single document which you can get here.

Other links

Earlier Bloomsdays at the Tower.

Bloomsday 2014

Bloomsday 2016

Bloomsday 2017

Bloomsday 2018

Bloomsday 2019

Bloomsday 2020

The Making of Bloomsday 2020

Bloomsday 2021

For the 2020 Bloomsday video celebration, singer Truly Divine was commissioned by Niall to record two songs of her choice. She chose one from Chamber Music, Bid Adieu, as I mentioned above the only one Joyce himself put to music. If you have not already heard this rendering in the 2020 video above, you can listen to it here.

On this Bloomsday, I am launching on my Youtube channel a talk on the artist and cartoonist Gordon Brewster (1889-1946). Gordon's only connection with both myself and James Joyce is that he died in my mother's shop in Howth on Bloomsday respectively. He did, of course, have a fascination with Martello Towers which probably earns him a bonus point in this context.

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