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The Molly Bed - Yes Festival

Ebrington Square, Derry~Londonderry, BT47 6FA
Artists Sketch of The Molly Bed


To celebrate the character of Molly Bloom and her climactic soliloquy in the last episode (XVIII) of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, Arts Over Borders has commissioned the Derry artist and set designer Tracey Lindsay to create an imaginative Gulliver- size bed as an 8 day public art installation within the city’s former British Army fort, Ebrington Barracks.  In Ulysses Episode XIII (Penelope), Molly utters her soliloquy in a stream of consciousness whilst lying in bed at around 3am, June 17 1904, just before dawn.   We also learn in the episode that Molly was born in Gibraltar, brought up in a military family (father in the Dublin Royal Fusiliers) and she loved the sound of marching military bands.  Ebrington Square today is Derry’s plaza answer to St. Petersburg’s Square – an equally majestic place of calm, surrounded by elegant buildings that offers a pleasant place to stroll and have special views across the Peace Bridge to the historic walled city.

8 is the symbolic number Joyce gave to Molly.  She was born on September 8, and her soliloquy is eight very long sentences. The installation is available for viewing for 8 days only.

As part of the inaugural Molly Bloomsday, June 16, 2024, the YES 2024 SIRENSCIRCUS event will be performed around the Molly Bed at 16.00 on June 16.


Tracey Lindsay –Artistic Statement–The Molly Bed

For the concept and creation of ‘The Molly Bed’ I have concentrated on the accompanying title for Derry, ‘The Future: A Female Vision’. Within Molly Bloom’s continuous stream to thought, she mentions nature and refers to herself as being a flower.

“as a girl where I was a flower of the mountain”

“yes so we are flowers all a woman’s body yes”

I imagined the bed springing up from the bog land of Derry, breaking through the surface of Ebrington Sqaure and flourishing.

“colours springing up even out of the ditches primroses and violets”

The bed will be very large in scale, it will look like it began to push through the land many year ago, in 1904, when the play was set. As time past, nature grew upon it and flowers bloomed. The bed changed with time and is became part of nature, like a mountain within the land. It is representative of a woman strength, breaking up and through the glass ceiling and continuing to flourish as well as society being able to change with the times.

Joyce has Molly in bed with her husband Leopold for the final chapter. I wanted to visually represent their presence. Two large pillows will be seen on the bed, with the indented weight of Molly and Leopold’s head moulded into their pillow.

I wished to also echo Joyce’s Athenian influence from Homer’s Odyssey. I will represent Molly as a bust sculpture, with flowers blooming from her head; this being the epicentre of thought and growth. Her thoughts and flowers will travel and grown throughout the bed and up onto the large headboard. This headboard will be a large screen, showing filmed footage of Molly’s words being performed by well-known females.

The public are invited to write down their thoughts and aspirations for the future, placing them under one of the pillows, so that they may take root and bloom.

Tracey Lindsay

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