Thirteen readers from the Friends of Joyce Tower Society Wednesday Reading Group in Sandycove took it upon themselves to visit their counterparts in Hastings, East Sussex at the beginning of November.
The Hastings Ulysses Reading Group was established only recently and its enthusiastic members held their very first Bloomsday celebration this year with a special event at the local library. The group meets fortnightly in the Café Rue de Pera.
The FJT group really enjoyed the hospitality of their new-found Haestingas friends and their joint festivities carried on long after a combined reading session.
The FJT trip also included a tour of Hastings Old Town which is a very ancient (mostly Tudor) area. It was very beautiful and its Tudor-typical wooden, wattle and daub houses were a delight to the eye. The net shops down at the seashore were also particularly interesting.
After a feed of fish and chips above the fish market (when in Britannia!), the group went on to Rye, a very lovely town 12 miles from Hastings where a refreshing beverage was enjoyed in the New Mermaid Inn – re-built in 1420!
The group finished up at Cross House, the home of Philip and Denise Rees. Denise is a frequent visitor to Ireland and joins the reading group whenever she is here.
A special dinner guest that evening was none other than Harriet Cole (nee Weaver) – the great-niece of Harriet Shaw Weaver. Harriet had visited the James Joyce Tower & Museum for the first time earlier this year and it was terrific to see her again. There was lots of eating and singing and a good time was had by all.
Thanks to all who made the trip so memorable and, especially the Hastings group for their wonderful hospitality.