Regarded as one of the most influential and important writers of the 20th century
Howth will hopefully always be a source of inspiration and creativity for those that find themselves drawn here.
This we can say because of the extensive list of famous visitors that have made it so. We’re lucky in that our location offers something for everyone that comes here. Furthermore, we’ve found that it’s popular among musicians, writers and artists.
One of these being Ireland’s most accomplished novelists, James Joyce. Much can be said for Joyce’s love of Dublin’s streets, but it seems our particular seaside suburbia managed to capture him just as much. Ulysses is known for being ‘reading bucket-list’ material. Yes its size is daunting, but no you don’t have to be a genius to tackle it. We can vouch for that! Joyce’s work is known for being lyrical and entirely sensual which is why you have to give it a go. Especially considering that it’s set on the very paths that most of us often take.
Ulysses is based on Homer’s the Odyssey so one would expect that perilous seas and stunning seascapes would feature. And Joyce without a doubt, doesn’t disappoint. The Odyssey, one of the most epic Greek poems, demonstrates the difficulty of life and to get through it is to survive the hardships. Conversely, James Joyce strives to do the same, through a more realistic, intimate and mundane lens. Wherein Ulysses centers on Leopold Bloom, the son of a Hungarian Jew turned protestant father and Irish protestant mother. Ulysses, in spite of its size, tells the tale of Bloom’s conventional odyssey throughout the course of one day; the 16th of June. Which is now celebrated in Irish culture as ‘Bloomsday’.
Howth is mentioned more than once in Ulysses – and demonstrates how appreciative he is of our beautiful peninsula. Ulysses differs a lot from other novels of its time as a result of its interesting narrative. One of the aspects being that the book is finished through a female perspective – specifically Molly Bloom, Leopold’s wife. Although she has been cheating on him, Joyce establishes her as someone to be sympathetic of. Subsequently because the relationship between Molly and Leopold is somewhat synonymous to the relationship Joyce had with his own wife. Howth is where Leopold first proposed to Molly, and Howth is where the book ends with Molly remembering why she loves him. Without spoiling anything, this is just one of the trials that Leopold has to face. And this somewhat optimistic resolution ensues that the odyssey, the journey of life has been worthwhile.
“…the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth Head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes”
James Joyce always said that if Dublin dropped off the face of the earth, we would undoubtedly be able to rebuild it using only his book. We’re so happy that Howth has been immortalized in one of the greatest works of the literary world, and you should too. Every year on the 16th of June, thousands of Ulysses fans gather in Dublin to celebrate and commemorate the life of Leopold Bloom. Some even flock out to our little peninsula to visit the rhododendrons and see what it is about Dublin’s vista that fascinated Joyce.