There’s a Martello Tower in Key West. Dates from the Civil War.

When UD visited it, she thought of the much more famous Martello Tower on the Irish coast, the tower in which James Joyce briefly lived. He made it the setting of the opening scene of Ulysses.

The last time UD was in Ireland, she stood on top of the tower and looked out over the snotgreen sea.

In Key West, she stood below the tower, looking at Florida’s sky-blue sea. She chatted with one of the gardeners at the Key West Garden Club about how most of the planting around the tower was only a few years old. “Last hurricane really wiped us out. Only the biggest palms survived.”

But even as she spoke with the gardener, UD thought of Stephen Dedalus waking up in his tower to begin his journey through one day and one night. She heard Buck Mulligan say The aunt thinks you killed your mother. She heard Dedalus say Someone killed her.

UD‘s head it simply swirls with that novel, and she’s not alone. Every year hordes of people all over the world honor Ulysses on Bloomsday, June 16, the day the story takes place.

Mark your calendar.

A poster from last year’s Bloomsday in Brazil.

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