What is Bloomsday?
Bloomsday celebrates Thursday 16th June 1904, the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. Bloomsday is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character throughout the novel which follows the life and thoughts of Leopold Bloom and a host of various other characters, both real and fictional, from the morning of the 16th of June 1904, right through to the early hours of the following day.
Bloomsday celebrations often include dressing up like characters from the novel and in clothes that would have been era appropriate. One of the most iconic items of Bloomsday is the famous straw boater hat. To celebrate this day, many places around the country, especially Dublin, perform readings, performances and visit places mentioned in the book.
2022 marks the 100th anniversary of Ulysses being published and changing the literary world forever.
The History of Bloomsday
James Joyce started writing Ulysses in March 1914, but put it aside for many years to focus on other projects. The novel is often considered one of the most important works of literature, with the first Bloomsday celebration taking place in Ireland in 1954.
Irish writers, Patrick Kavanagh, and Flann O’Brien, visited several places mentioned in the novel – Martello towers at Sandycove, Davy Byrne’s pub and 7 Eccles place, reading parts of Ulysses and drinking as they went. Today, Bloomsday is celebrated by Joyceans across the globe with readings, performances, re-enactments, and a host of other events.
How can I celebrate Bloomsday in Dublin?
- Visit Sweny’s Pharmacy: Swenys Pharmacy is a James Joyce Visitor Heritage Centre located in Dublin city Centre. Sweny’s is described in great detail within the novel as Leopold Blom admires the place. They do regular readings and performances. https://www.sweny.ie/
- A guided walk & Joycean evening (Dalkey Heritage Centre 15-16th June) https://dalkeycastle.com/bloomsday/
- Bloomsday Talk & Tea: Ulysses as Inspiration – Celebrating Ulysses is an exhibition marking the centenary of its publication. The exhibition focuses on drawing by Günter Schöllkopf (1935–1979), who was greatly inspired by Joyce's book. https://tinyurl.com/sxrb8jwa
- Bloomsday at Davy Byrnes pub: Ever since Leopold Bloom visited Davy Byrnes pub in Ulysses, it has become an iconic location for many Joyceans to visit on Bloomsday. The pub will be hosting festivities and performances during the week. https://davybyrnes.com/