The University at Buffalo (UB) Libraries is celebrating Bloomsday with the creation of Buffalo’s newest mural, a 36-foot-tall, vibrant artwork of renowned Irish author and poet James Joyce, regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

Consul General of Ireland in New York Ciaran Madden and New York State Senator Tim Kennedy were on hand for the unveiling of the mural at 181 Franklin Street on June 14, two days before Bloomsday 2021.

The mural is part of a broader fundraising campaign and initiative to raise awareness of the UB James Joyce Collection, the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of manuscripts and materials by and about the famed Irish author.

On display! 🖼 #UBuffalo, home to the world’s largest James Joyce collection, unveiled a 36-foot #UBJamesJoyce mural in downtown Buffalo today for #Bloomsday2021 📖 See the photos ⬇️

— UBuffalo (@UBuffalo) June 14, 2021

Through the university’s Boldly Buffalo campaign, the UB Libraries aims to create a James Joyce museum in Abbott Hall on the UB South Campus that provides a permanent exhibition space for visitors from across the globe to discover and experience the rare materials and literary life and history of Joyce. Fundraising will also support a preservation and acquisitions endowment, a James Joyce curator position, and programming and exhibition funds.

“Our goal is nothing less than to invite the entire world to experience the literary life and works of Ireland’s James Joyce, while ensuring the continuation of the UB James Joyce Collection as an international destination for research and discovery,” says James Maynard, PhD, curator of the UB Poetry Collection and coordinator of the UB Rare and Special Books Collection.

“A permanent exhibition space would increase public access to our Joyce collection and enable it to have a larger and more impactful role in the local and regional communities, and to strengthen Western New York’s cultural tourism,” says Evviva Weinraub Lajoie, vice provost for UB libraries.

Funded by the Office of the Consulate General of Ireland in New York, Amherst Gaelic League, and UB alumnus Alphonse Kolodziejczak, PhD, the mural also promotes Irish heritage in Western New York by celebrating one of Ireland’s most significant cultural exports.

Joyce dedicated his life to writing about the city of Dublin and is inextricably linked around the world with the history and culture of Ireland. The public artwork provides Buffalo and its large Irish community with a new and significant Irish landmark.

“We are delighted to partner with UB to erect and unveil this mural. The links between Ireland and Buffalo, and Western New York more generally, are deep and longstanding; we will always celebrate them,” said Consul General Madden. 

“However, the UB James Joyce Collection is something distinct and special. Through its world-class collection about an Irish writer, UB is connected to experts and fans of Irish culture all over the world.

"With next year’s centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses,’ we hope that many more people will read Joyce for the first time, and through Joyce, discover this wonderful collection in the heart of Western New York.”

The sun came out in time to show the newest addition to the Buffalo streetscape to proud Buffalo native and great friend of Ireland and the Consulate, NY’s Lieutenant Governor @LtGovHochulNY #UBJamesJoyce

— Ciaran Madden (@maddenciaran1) June 14, 2021

Kathy Hochul, the Lieutenant Governor of New York State, was also on hand for the unveiling on Monday.

As granddaughter of Irish immigrants & the highest-ranking Irish-American elected official in NYS, proud to visit the new “Bloomsday” mural in Buffalo with CG Ciarán Madden.@UBuffalo is home to world’s greatest collection of James Joyce material & recognition is long overdue.

— Kathy Hochul (@LtGovHochulNY) June 14, 2021

The mural arrives ahead of the 100th anniversary of Joyce’s landmark book “Ulysses” in 2022, which will feature a global series of Ulysses-related programs, exhibitions, and events throughout the year, including on Bloomsday. The international holiday, held on June 16 – the same day “Ulysses” takes place – remembers the enigmatic story of a day in the life of protagonist Leopold Bloom in Dublin. “Ulysses” is considered by many to be the most significant novel of the 20th century.

The mural, based on an archival photograph of Joyce from the UB James Joyce Collection, was designed by Kristopher Miller, UB Libraries web manager and lead designer, and installed by Rory Allen, owner of Buffalo-based UB alumnus Frank LoTempio III, JD, and the LoTempio family donated use of the LoTempio P.C. Law Group building.

About the UB James Joyce Collection

UB is home to the largest collection of materials on Joyce in the world, including more than 10,000 pages of his working papers, notebooks, and manuscripts, as well as photographs, portraits, memorabilia, and Paris library, providing unmatched glimpses into the author’s writing process and literary relationships.

The James Joyce Collection — part of the UB Poetry Collection, the library of record for 20th- and 21st-century Anglophone poetry — is a destination for scholars around the world. Joyce is among the most highly researched literary figures of all time.

More information about the collection and how to contribute to it is available on this website for the collection.

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