By: Niall Murphy
Limited edition of 100 numbered copies, signed by the author, clothbound and slipcased with a 1904 penny inset on the cover.
In 1904, the sending, receiving and collecting of postcards had become an essential part of life in Edwardian Dublin. In an age of few private telephones, the postcard was a popular and reliable form of communication – in Dublin there were six mail deliveries a day, and one on Sunday.
To celebrate James Joyce and the centenary of Bloomsday, Niall Murphy has assembled a dazzling selection of 240 postcards, all of them posted in the Dublin area during 1904, four of them sent on 16 June that year.
Here are the messages of ordinary people who walked the streets of Dublin side-by-side with the characters of Ulysses, with their words eerily mirroring the novel’s events. There is a rescue from drowning in Kingston; crime and punishment in Grafton Street; the Great Storm of 1903; King Edward’s visit; and memories of a ‘departed day’ spent in Howth. Among the many tales of love, three are enacted in varying degrees of intimacy: Millicent and Francisque de Boissieu, Jack Miller and Maud Tighe, and Ina and John McGregor – echoing Joyce’s use of postcards to establish the blossoming romance between Milly Bloom and Alec Bannon.
Published in association with the National Library of Ireland, ‘A Bloomsday Postcard’ features the work of the legendary postcard artists – Louis Wain’s strange human cats; Lance Thackery’s satires of upper-class life; and C. Dana Gibson’s exquisite drawings of beautiful women. Here also are cards depicting the Russo-Japanese War, Yukon gold miners, the Dublin Horse Show, and life in Connemara – creating a mesmerizing full-colour mosaic that brings to life the world of Bloomsday, 1904 like never before.
NIALL MURPHY is an antiquarian, book and ephemera dealer. His interest in Joyce led him to collect these postcards over a period of twenty-five years. He lives in Drogheda, Co. Louth.