Latest Laois News: An Open Letter from Laois to James Joyce
An Open Letter to James Joyce on centenary of Ulysses’ Publication
Slieve Bloom Mountains,
An Open Letter to James Joyce on the Centenary of Ulysses’ Publication
Dear Mr. Joyce,
You were never one for the pretences of heroic nationalism, the control of the Catholic Church or the confines of Empire. Like a blazing fireball, you were one of the few in this country who refused to be pinned down by any sort of propogandist manipulation or theocratic influence.
For this you suffered. They exiled you. They vilified you. They tried to silence you. Yet, you persevered. As a woman of Ireland 100 years after the publication of Ulysses, I want to thank you. Unlike the Church-State regime, you are on the right side of history.
The year you published Ulysses was the same year that the systematic institutionalisation of Ireland’s ‘fallen women’ in the so-called Mother and Baby homes began. This was one of the most heinous consequences of the perverse religious morality, control, judgementalism and Church-State collusion that you so courageously rejected in your life and called out in your writing.
In his State apology last year, an Taoiseach Michael Martin said ‘It is the duty of a republic to be willing to confront hard truths.’
What kind of Ireland would have ensued if we’d had the courage to confront the truths that you presented to us at the time or if we had been able to see ourselves truthfully in the reflections you held up?
They took contraception away from us in 1935, making it illegal from that point. Female orgasms were never made ‘illegal’, but worse again, we were told they were a mortal sin.
In 2022 many Irish women still battle with guilt, shame and the intergenerational trauma that arises from the suppression of one of life’s most pleasurable and powerful forces.
But there she was, Molly Bloom, in 1922, the mountain flower in all her orgasmic glory yes being erotic yes and being beautiful yes being woman yes being human yes untamed unfettered untrammelled yes yes yes.
On behalf of all the mná, thank you Mr. Joyce for giving us the happiest of endings. For keeping the flame alive, even if only a flicker for a time.
Our proclamation to you on this your birthday and forever more is ‘yes I said yes I will Yes.’