Irish people celebrate the words and works of their literary legends, everywhere and every day. But on June 16th, the spotlight is on James Joyce’s Ulysses and the day in 1904 when his protagonist Leopold Bloom took a stroll around Dublin, known as BLOOMSDAY.
The celebrations include a fascinating festival, plenty of fashion from the era, menus serving food from Ulysses, and obviously lots of fun!
BloomsDay in Dublin
BloomsDay is a famous celebratory festival in Dublin. Observed annually on June 16th, this literary holiday commemorates the life of legendary Irish writer James Joyce; the day on which his novel Ulysses was set in 1904; and also the date of his first romantic outing with his girlfriend and wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle. The day is named after the main character in novel Ulysses, Leopold Bloom.
The novel tail around with the life of Leopold Bloom (the protagonist) and a group of different characters – fictional and real – from 8 am on 16 June 1904 through to the early hours of the next morning.
In his novel Ulysses, Joyce has written about Leopold Bloom and his travels through Dublin on 16 June 1904 – aka BloomsDay. Joyce is said to have picked this date, as it denotes the first occasion when he went outing with his wife-to-be Nora Barnacle.
The History of BloomsDay
James Joyce started writing for his novel Ulysses in March 1914, but then took a short pause to finish his play Exiles. On 16 June 1915, he completed the first episode of Ulysses. The novel with 730 pages and 18 complete episodes, was done and dusted and published in 1922.
After the novel was published, Joyce’s friends marked the day on which the novel was set—16 June, as BloomsDay. Today, even after around 100 years, Bloomsday is marked in Dublin and various other cities across the globe, with pomp and grandeur!
Do you know? In 1924, James Joyce underwent an eye operation and had both his eyes bandaged. On the operation recovery, his friends sent him a bouquet of white and blue flowers (white and blue being the colors of the front cover of Ulysses), but low-spirited Joyce scribbled in his note pad ‘Today 16 June 1924 twenty years after. Will anyone remember this date.’
The first celebration of BloomsDay came in 1929. Adrienne Monnier, a partner of the publisher and distributor of novel Ulysses, Sylvia Beach, published the French version of Ulysses in February 1929. Then, to honor the 25th anniversary of the first BloomsDay, she organized a grand party-lunch at the famous Hotel Leopold in Versailles, France.
Dublin, Ireland – the city which was largely stressed up in Ulysses – held the first party in 1954, the 50th Anniversary of the first BloomsDay. The famous writers of that time, Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien visited all the towns and centers of Dublin which were mentioned in Ulysses and ate and drank all those things which were there in the novel.
BloomsDay is celebrated with great enthusiasm by James Joyce’s fans in Dublin and different cities across the world. It is celebrated by Joyceans (fans of James Joyce) over the globe with readings, exhibitions, festivals, re-enactments and a plethora of exciting events. Have a look at the celebratory traditions and customs associated with this literary holiday:
Copying Everything Mentioned In the Novel
Joyceans observe Bloomsday by dressing in the style of the period, eating dishes mentioned in the novel, visiting the areas where the novel happens and performing readings from the content. The celebratory events range from readings, workshops, and walking tours to Bloomsday Breakfasts, theater, music, and pub crawl.
Ulysses Readings & Dramatizations
The day involves the activities of reading Ulysses and doing re-enactments of the events described in the novel. The celebrants of a city or town may gather together in a community hall, where a person reads the main highlights of the novel to the gathering. There are also re-enactments and dramatizations of the events mentioned in the novel.
Some hard-core devotees also hold marathon readings of the entire novel. It takes them anywhere up to 36-hours to finish reading the novel!
Dressing like Novels’ Characters
Every year thousands of devotees dress same as characters from the book. People dress in the costumes of main novel characters of Leopold Bloom, Molly Bloom, Stephen Dedalus, and Buck Mulligan.
Ulysses Themed Parties & Festivals
In many towns, there are dramatic performances, re-enactments, and Ulysses novel reading by artists and scholars. In some areas, there are free BloomsDay activities hosted for families. In addition to readings and lots of fun, there’s a growing custom of singers performing songs that are matching to the novel’s plot and Irish dancers dancing to the tune.
Reading & Essay Competitions
Some areas hold a yearly Bloomsday festivity, at which parts of the book are either read aloud or exhibited as dramatizations by costumed entertainers. There are essay competitions among the young. The winning participants are awarded scholarships and prizes.
BloomsDay Festival in Dublin : Timing, Details, Venue
The biggest celebration of BloomsDay is scheduled to take place in Dublin, Ireland – the only city which was highlighted in Joyce’s Ulysses.
BloomsDay Festival will start on June 11 and end on June 16.
|BloomsDay Event in Dublin: Details|
|HOW TO IMAGINE LUCIA JOYCE||Friday, June 11,||18:30 19:30|| |
The James Joyce Centre, Dublin
|The James Joyce Centre||Sunday, June 13,||18:30 19:30|| |
The James Joyce Centre, Dublin
|THE JOYCE OF WHISKEY IN ASSOCIATION WITH IRISH FOOD TRAIL||Monday, June 14,||14:00 16:30|| |
Adventure TrailsPowerscourt Centre
|BLOOMSDAY INTERVIEW – SENATOR DAVID NORRIS IN CONVERSATION WITH ANNE DOYLE||Tuesday, June 15,||18:30 20:00|| |
O’Reilly TheatreBelvedere College
|THE POETRY BROTHEL: O, ROCKS!||6/15/ 21:00:00 & Wednesday, June 16, 00:59||6/15/ 21:00:00 & Sunday, June 16, 00:59|| |
The Church Bar & RestaurantMary Street
|BLOOMSDAY BREAKFAST||Wednesday, June 16,||12:00 13:30|| |
James Joyce Centre
|BLOOMSDAY AFTERNOON TEA||Wednesday, June 16,||14:30 16:00|| |
James Joyce Centre
|BLOOMINAUSCHWITZ (MATINEE)||Wednesday, June 16,||14:30 16:00|| |
The New Theatre
|BLOOMINAUSCHWITZ (EVENING SHOW)||Wednesday, June 16,||19:30 21:00|| |
The New Theatre
|BLOOMSDAY BLOWOUT||Wednesday, June 16,||20:00 23:59|| |
For booking details, click here.