Bloomsday, Dublin’s tribute to James Joyce’s Ulysses

Like every year, Dublin hosts the Bloomsday Festival on June 16, a unique event that commemorates one of the most important works of literature: ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce.

The characters of one of the most influential and renowned novels of the 20th century come to life in the city of Dublin through the celebration of Bloomsday.

This unique festival is named after Leopold Bloom, the main character of Ulysses, and is celebrated on June 16, the date on which the author recounts the experiences of Bloom and another series of fictional characters that give life to the work in that distant year of 1904.

On this date it is a tradition that lovers of literature, Joyce fans or common inhabitants of the city of Dublin dress in the Edwardian style, recreating the different characters of the book. One of the accessories that cannot be missing on this special day is the straw boater hat, one of the emblems of the festival.

The first Bloomsday festival to be held in Dublin was in 1954, and ever since then it has become a festive tradition to follow in Leopold Bloom’s footsteps around the city and take part in the various celebrations ranging from breakfasts, readings, talks , exhibitions, cabarets, performances or concerts.

This 2021 the schedule It will be formed by a hybrid between face-to-face and online events. The day will begin with the classic Joycean breakfast organized by the Joyce Center in Dublin, which this year will be broadcast live on YouTube, to encourage the most daring to try the breakfast that Leopold Bloom ate in the novel and whose star ingredient is the fried pork kidneys.

Another of the classic events of this day is to do the guided tour of Bloomsday, stopping at the classic places that appear in the novel, where two stops cannot be missed: one at the legendary Davy Byrnes bar to eat a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of of burgundy wine, and another at Sweny’s Pharmacy, on Lincoln Place, to buy the famous lemon soap.

This pharmacy remains as Joyce knew it thanks to various volunteers who are responsible for its recovery and maintenance. Likewise, at 7:00 p.m. on the YouTube channel of the James Joyce Center, actress Katherine Lynch will guide viewers who cannot be in Dublin through the real places of Ulysses.

Another of the activities that will not be missing this year is Ulises’s Punk Cabaret, to which will be added conferences halfway between talk and artistic performance, screenings of the Bloomsday Film Festival, or some art exhibitions such as the one that includes the residences where Joyce lived with her family in Dublin.

In 2022 the Bloomsday Festival will return with even more force to commemorate the centenary of the publication of the novel. The city and its main literary museums are preparing the debut for what will be an important commemoration: the centenary of one of the most important novels of the 20th century.

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Bloomsday, Dublin’s tribute to James Joyce’s Ulysses

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