Patrick's Day Parade 2019 Joyce-Cycle

Sunday, March 17, 2019
Dublin City Centre

The Title of the Dublin Cycle Campaign pageant in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Joyce-Cycle (pronounced ‘joysickle’).

We are celebrating Irish Writers and their connection with the bicycle, including James Joyce, Flann O Brien, Jonathan Swift, Sterne, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and Dervla Murphy.

Though he wasn’t much of a cyclist himself, Flann O’Brien must be the patron saint of all cycling literature. In The Third Policeman, written at the end of the 1930s but published only posthumously, he outlined his “Atomic Theory” of cycling: spend too long on a bike, O’Brien argued, and you’ll begin to exchange atoms with your machine. “You would be surprised at the number of people in these parts,” says one of the titular policemen to the nameless narrator of O’Brien’s novel, “who are nearly half people and half bicycles.” In the circular hell described in the book, keen cyclists end their lives sleeping standing in hallways with their elbows propped up against walls. Bicycles take on humanity, and begin creeping around at night and stealing from pantries. It’s all gloriously weird.

O’Brien’s fellow Irishman Beckett was a huge cycling fan. The literary critic Hugh Kenner argued that his most famous (and most famously absent) creation, Godot, was himself based on a Monsieur Godeau, a French national champion racer. The spirit of cycling suffuses Beckett’s novel Molloy. You can hear the pedal strokes in the staccato rhythms of his sentences. Molloy himself is so dependent on his bicycle that when he is separated from it he can barely move, and is forced to ratchet himself along the road on his crutches. For Beckett, bikes were more than mere vehicles: they were prostheses. Beckett’s character Molloy “A confused shadow was cast. It was I and my bicycle. I began to play; gesticulating, waving my hat, moving my bicycle to and fro before me, blowing the horn, watching the wall. They were watching me through the bars; I felt their eyes upon me. The policeman on guard at the door told me to go away. He needn’t have, I was calm again. (GII.21) Samuel Beckett, Molloy (1951)

We plan to have over one hundred participants of all ages from babies to those nearing their 90’s taking part in the Parade. This creative Joyce-Cycle pageant will bring to life the wonderful writings of some of our best loved Irish writers. Participants will take part in workshops to create the pageant. We will be joined by contemporary Irish writers and well known faces astride and merged with their beloved bicycles.

There will also be a poetry competition on the theme of bicycles, in collaboration with Poetry Ireland https://www.poetryireland.ie/, with winners in the under and over 16 categories. The writers will win a cash prize. Winning Poems will be published online and printed. Printed poems on cards and book markers will be given out to the public viewers on the day to encourage interaction.

Dublin Cycling Campaign will be in the main body of the parade. We will be ahead of a marching band and guaranteed RTE live coverage, we will also be included in the Irish Times Festival Guide and the main St. Patrick’s Day Festival Guide. Why not join with us in this great cross cultural celebration. Be part of this wonderful Joyce-Cycle! We are supported in this venture by Healthy Ireland

For more information contact: Donna Cooney: Co-ordinator Joyce-Cycle for Dublin Cycling Campaign
M. 083 3317190 – Email: donnacooney1@yahoo.ie – Twitter & Instagram @donna_cooney1

Help us do more for cycling in Dublin, please consider getting involved.