Our literary week began, or the last one ended, with a trip in the wind and rain to the Joyce Tower in Sandycove, the setting for that famous opening scene in Joyce’s great novel, Ulysses.
We arrived at the tower, having braved the waves crashing over the rocks onto the seafront promenade, and gathered at reception to pay in. “Who’s James Joyce?”, I hear someone ask. The poor lady behind the counter couldn’t believe what she was hearing: “You didn’t tell them” she reprimanded me.
After a (quick) look round at the books and photos students were a bit more clued in. Everyone enjoyed the rooftop view over Dublin Bay and the mist covered hill of Howth. We lunched alfresco in Glasthule and then walked the pier in Dun Laoghaire.
In Wednesday’s Irish literature class, a select few read Yeats’s poem “September 1913” in which the poet expresses his disgust at the penny-pinching merchant class. Those present read beautifully, once they’d got to know the rhythm, proving that poems must be read many times.
The second half of the class was spent in the National Library’s Yeats exhibition. Paula was most interested in the “gossip” about his love-life, and no one could understand how Yeats had become so infatuated with Maud Gonne – A life-sized photo of his muse failed to convince us of her so-called beauty. Judge for yourselves:
Next week, we’ll be reading another Yeats poem, “Easter 1916”, his response to the 1916 Rising. Copies are available in the office. There’ll also be a short biographical activity, so we can get to know a man so central to the culture of this country.