Your Bloomsday Itinerary 11-14 June
The Bloomsday Festival celebrates Dublin’s literary heritage, its food and culture with a week of tours and events. If you are in Dublin for the whole week there is plenty to see and experience before Bloomsday itself. Here is a little overview of what you can get up to before the weekend.
Start on Tuesday, 11 June, with a visit to the James Joyce Centre to learn about James Joyce and his works and stroll through the exhibitions, the Ulysses Haiku Project and Visions of Joyce. Book yourself on to one of their walking tours, Introducing Joyce’s Dublin or the Joyce & The Irish Literary Revival tour. There are still a handful of tickets left. Or pick a walking tour from the rich Bloomsday Fringe programme like the award-winning Dublin Ulysses Tour, which runs the whole week. You will pass or even enter plenty of eateries and watering holes along the tours to keep you refreshed. For a different kind of break, stop over in the iconic location from James Joyce’s Ulysses, Sweny’s Chemist, for their lunchtime performance at 12.30pm every day or enjoy lunch at the Dublin institution that is Bewley’s Café to see Blooming Ulysses, a one-man adaptation and excellent introduction to Joyce’s novel. In the evening, find out more about Joyce’s daughter Lucia who has been portrayed as Joyce’s muse, Samuel Beckett’s lover, an ill-fated dancer, and as clinically insane at How to Imagine Lucia Joyce.
Finish the day in a new bar that has just opened next door to where Barney Kiernan’s pub from the ‘Cyclops’ episode in Ulysses used to be anymore. Bar 1661 are offering two-for-one on their poitín based cocktails, The Barney Kiernan, for the duration of the Bloomsday Festival.
On Wednesday, 12 June, join Irish Food Trail for their Joyce of Food tour to three traditional Irish eateries with a local professional guide, who will fill in the gaps between stops with a walking tour through the streets of the city providing history, fun facts and recommendations. Each restaurant will provide a different course inspired by Joyce’s work accompanied by a reading of the excerpt from Ulysses to which it relates. For other things to do and see on the day, check out the Visit Dublin website. There is variety of events in the evening to entertain you such as the Judder Theatre Company with their two one-act plays from Joyce’s Dubliners or the Joycean Serenata performed by Il Coro Italiano di Dublino. Or discover a new angle on Joyce at events like On Joyce and Intimacy with writers June Caldwell and Vigdis Hjorth, organised in association with Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Dublin, Ulysses in Distant Lands at Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum, or The Shadow of Kishniev in Ulysses at the Irish Jewish Museum.
Start your Thursday, 13 June, with a delicious breakfast straight out of the pages of Ulysses and accompanied by performances and readings at Boxty House, known for its Irish dishes. Then head to the James Joyce Centre for a rehearsed reading of Of Thyme & Rosemary with well-known actor Jack Walsh (Fair City, Ripper Street, Penny Dreadful, Vikings) about a conversation between James Joyce and Marcel Proust. It is based on their meeting at a dinner party in Paris in 1922. If the play has wetted your appetite and you want to find out more about Joyce and his relationship with his contemporaries, join the Centre’s Joyce & Yeats walking tour straight after. Thursday evening is all about creativity with the launch of the exhibition, Olives, Oysters and Oranges, inspired by the references to food in Ulysses, in the Olivier Cornet Gallery around the corner from the Joyce Centre and a few doors down from Joyce’s old school, Belvedere College. Or head back to the James Joyce Centre for Go and Create Something where actor Janet Moran, filmmaker Tommy Creagh and illustrator Niall Laverty from At it Again! will discuss Joyce’s impact on their practice and showing their work.
Spend a relaxed Friday, 14 June, to prepare yourself for the big weekend. Stroll through the Seamus Heaney exhibition Listen Now Again (ticketed event!) in the historic Bank of Ireland building opposite Trinity College or the Rejoyce’N’Art Exhibition up by Mountjoy Square in Joyce’s old neighbourhood. Stop by the James Joyce Centre for a spot of lunchtime theatre with Strolling through Ulysses, a 75 minute romp through Joyce's famous novel. Alternatively, celebrate Bloomsday in the Monto, Dublin’s old red light district and location of the ‘Circe’ episode in Ulysses. This lunchtime event will feature comedy theater, extracts from Ulysses, and music and songs of the era. Afternoon tea is provided. Or discover all the locations from Ulysses from the comfort of a bus on our Joyce by Bus tour that brings you all the way down to the famous Martello Tower in the picturesque seaside village of Sandycove. It’s a good way to learn the lay of the land if you haven’t been to Dublin before and to give you an idea of where you’d like to spend your Bloomsday. If you want to mix with local Dubliners and like a bit of a boogie, dress up and join the Terenure community for their Bloomsday Tea Dance. To finish with a relaxed and fun evening, go on a jaunt with the Joyce of Whiskey tour around the capital’s bars to celebrate the many allusions to distilleries and whiskey in Joyce’s works whilst discovering Dublin’s rich whiskey culture.
As you can see there is plenty to do before the big Bloomsday weekend. Every event on our website has maps linked to it, so you can plan your itinerary, but most of them are in walking distance from each other and you will find plenty of cafés, pubs and restaurants along the way.
If you want to find out what else is on during the week, go to