Bloomsday marked at Ljubljana railway station

Ljubljana, 16 June - The Embassy of Ireland in Ljubljana held a celebratory event at the Ljubljana railway station to mark Bloomsday, the annual celebration of the Irish literary icon James Joyce (1882-1941) and his chef d'oeuvre Ulysses, written in 1922.

Ljubljana's central railway station.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

The event took place at a memorial designed by sculptor Jakov Brdar, which was unveiled on the first platform of the station in 2003 when Bloomsday was first marked in Slovenia.

Irish Ambassador to Slovenia Sean O'Regan read an excerpt from Joyce's novel in English, while the Slovenian translation was read by Milan Jazbec from the Slovenian Foreign Ministry.

O'Regan told the STA that the Irish mark this day out of their love for literature and because it is worth celebrating.

Bloomsday is marked on the date on which the novel is set, 16 June. This date is significant, as it is believed that Joyce met his life partner Nora Barnacle on 16 June 1904.

Brdar's sculpture in Ljubljana marks the time when Joyce and Barnacle, en route from Zürich to Trieste, accidentally stepped off their train in Slovenia's capital, believing they had reached their destination.

The sculpture is cast in bronze and gilded, bearing an engraved quote from Joyce's Ulysses in Slovenian and English.

The novel chronicles a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, after whom Bloomsday is named. Loosely based on The Oddyssey, the ancient Greek epic poem, the novel is set in the author's birthplace of Dublin, Ireland.

Neva Mužič, who translated the novel into Slovenian, said that Ulysses is a book which "everyone knows, many people own, but not many people have read".

It is nevertheless regarded as one of the most complete examples of a modernist novel and is still quarrelled over by literary experts.

She said the novel is a latinised version of The Odyssey, written with a "quintessential Irish wit, disdain, encyclopedic knowledge and an intellectual, but experimental approach to writing".

Bloomsday is celebrated all over the world, including Croatia's Pula and Italy's Trieste, where Joyce lived for periods of his life. The main celebration, however, takes place in Dublin, where a six-day literary event is currently being held.

© STA, 2016