You know an Irish pub is a true, legitimate Irish pub if it celebrates the writer, James Joyce. Now, the English majors out there know Joyce as one of the titans of twentieth century literature, the artist who changed the model of the novel pretty much by announcing he could tell a story any damn way he pleased. The Irish folks know him as one of their own, a conflicted Catholic who liked joking around – and who loved Ireland.
Bloomsday is the day selected by the Irish world to celebrate Joyce. Here’s the thing. It’s not on Joyce’s birthday and it doesn’t mark Joyce’s death. It’s on June 16. Why? Well, the entirety of Joyce’s extremely long masterpiece, “Ulysses,” takes place on a single day, and it’s June 16, 1904. Okay, so we explained June 16. Now, why Bloomsday? Where did that come from? Well, Leopold Bloom, an ad salesman, is the main character of “Ulysses.” So the Joyce aficionados decided every June 16 would be the day to celebrate Joyce, and they decided to name it after the main character in his most famous novel. You know these folks are readers. Only with true readers are the works more important than the author.
Now, you know O’Brien’s Irish Pub & Family Restaurant, which is at 701 W. Lumsden Road, in Brandon, is a true Irish pub because it is, as far as we can tell, the only one celebrating Bloomsday 2012 on June 16 in the greater Tampa Bay area. There will be a lovely dinner that evening, a pint or two, traditional Irish music and a limerick competition (Joyce was famous for his puns). Local artists will also have on display paintings and sculptures, and you may buy a piece of art you like if you so desire. If you are interested in going, or in entering the limerick competition, go to the web site: Bloomsday at O'Brien's