So what happens in Dublin on June 16th?
June 16th is Bloomsday, when James Joyce devotees celebrate his novel Ulysses.
Why is it on this date?
James Joyce’s ground-breaking piece of fiction, featuring Leopold Bloom, is set on a single day, June 16th, 1904. It describes the life of the city in such detail that the writer once said that if Dublin were to be destroyed, Ulysses could be used to rebuild it brick by brick. The first Bloomsday celebrated in Ireland was in 1954, the 50th anniversary. Writers Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien decided to re-enact Bloom’s journey across Dublin. They visited the Martello Tower at Sandycove, Davy Byrne’s pub, and 7 Eccles Street, reading parts of Ulysses and drinking a great deal as they went. Poet Anthony Cronin was also present, representing Stephen Dedalus
How is Bloomsday 2023 being celebrated?
With a whole host of events and activities online and with exciting live elements, too. They’re on for a lot longer than just Bloomsday, so if you can’t catch everything on Wednesday there will be opportunities to see them again.
How can I celebrate?
Traditionally many people don straw boater hats and dress as a character from the book to enjoy the streets of Dublin on this day. If you are in the city this year, we recommend a walking tour with one of our recommended historians and Joyce fans.
The famous Bloomsday Breakfast is one of the most established traditions, which celebrates Leopold Bloom’s famous meal of grilled kidneys.
If you are watching from afar, check out the Bloomsday Facebook page and YouTube channel. At 3pm Balloonatics and Trinity College Dublin’s V-Sense present an online reading of the opening pages of Ulysses from a virtual-reality version of Joyce’s martello tower, in Sandycove, in south Co Dublin.
At 6pm (Irish-time), comedian and performer Katherine Lynch will host an evening of readings and songs. She will be joined by a cast of Irish writers, actors, musicians and pundits, who will read extracts from Ulysses and travel to many of the novel’s key locations around Dublin. Find it on the Bloomsday’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
At 8pm, a Joycean Punk Cabaret (of sorts), will be presented by the Dublin-based Corps Ensemble via livestream from the James Joyce Centre in Dublin.
The Bloomsday Film Festival also has a whole new selection of Joycean films to enjoy. The selected works will be available online for the duration of the Bloomsday Festival.