A range of events are taking place across the literary world today to mark the 100th anniversary of the publication of James Joyce's Ulysses.

Our Arts and Media correspondent Sinéad Crowley looks at how the birthday of this most influential novel is being marked.

A day in a life, a map of Dublin city, a meditation on relationships, the parallel journey of an epic poem – these are just a tiny number of the elements that make up Ulysses, considered to be one of the most important and influential novels ever written.

The book follows the character of Leopold Bloom as he moves through an ordinary day in Dublin on June 16th 1904. The title 'Ulysses’ references The Odyssey and the book draws on a number of styles and groundbreaking literary techniques.

A copy of the very first edition of Ulysses, published in 1922

Originally serialised between 1918 and 1920 in The Little Review, the seminal modernist text was first published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach, the proprietor of the bookshop Shakespeare and Company in Paris on February 2nd 1922, the author’s 40th birthday.

Although initially treated with suspicion by countries including the author’s native Ireland, the book is now read and studied worldwide and it, and indeed Joyce himself have become an intrinsic part of Ireland’s cultural tourism industry.

Connemara, Co. Galway: Clifden Bookshop owner Maura O'Halloran, dressed as
publisher Sylvia Beech, celebrates the 100th anniversary of Ulysses
with artist Valeri Joyce, dressed as her namesake James Joyce
(Pic: Alice Coyle)

Scholars and readers from all over the world travel to Dublin to stroll in the footsteps of Bloom and it’s fitting that this centenary occurs just as the capital is looking forward to welcoming national and international visitors again.

Although today is the centenary of its publication, celebrations will take place throughout the rest of the year. A summary of the key events can be found at ulysses100.ie, a digital platform from the Museum of Literature Ireland, supported by the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the National Library and UCD.

MoLI will also host the launch of a new film installation, Love, says Bloom, curated by Nuala O’Connor whose book on Joyce’s wife, Nora Barnacle, has been chosen as Dublin’s One City One Book title for 2022. Joyce loved music – indeed he once competed in the Feis Ceoil – and the film features today’s musicians singing some of the Joyce family favourites.

James Joyce and Nora Barnacle in 1930

Another musical tribute comes in the form of six specially commissioned pieces from the Contemporary Music Centre in Ireland. Entitled Ulysses Journey 2022, the works of music and film are presented by the CMC in association with the Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris and simultaneous world premieres will take place tonight at CCI and at the IFI in Dublin.

Other activities taking place in Paris tonight include the launch of an ebook, at exactly 20:22 local time while birthday celebrations will take place at the current site of the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookstore.

Back in Dublin meanwhile, just as they do on Bloomsday, Joyceans will gather at locations mentioned in the book, including Davy Byrne’s pub off Grafton Street to mark the occasion.

For those who can’t travel to Paris - or even to Dublin city - RTÉ has planned a wide range of programming on television, radio and online to mark the centenary. These include a special edition of Nationwide tonight and a new television documentary devised by the late historian Frank Callanan.

All details of RTÉ programming can be found here, along with classic Joyce-related material from the RTÉ archives.

An Post have issued a pair of new Ulysses stamps

But what about those people who haven’t yet read the book - or may feel intimidated about doing so? James Joyce and his work can be seen on tea towels, posters and stamps yet for many the thought of actually tackling the dense text and all of its illusions and allusions is intimidating in the extreme.

The answer, according to Darina Gallagher of the James Joyce Centre in Dublin could lie in simply letting the words wash over you. A number of audio versions of Ulysses are now available which give the listener full access to its rhythms and tones.

For a totally immersive experience on the day that’s in it, listeners can turn to the 1982 recording of the book now available on the RTE website. Featuring a full cast drawn from the RTÉ Players, the thirty hours of recordings could travel with you throughout the day, or indeed on a stroll down Sandymount strand and could be the ideal way to wish this novel a happy birthday.