The Stations of your Bloomsday Pilgrimage
"Making his day’s stations"
The Bloomsday pilgrimage is a journey to the city of Dublin - the birthplace of one of Ireland’s greatest writers, James Joyce, and the location of his epic novel, Ulysses. For some Bloomsday pilgrims it is a a lifelong dream to travel to Dublin to walk in the footsteps of the novel’s protagonists, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, and experience the places that influenced Joyce’s writing.
On a pilgrimage, the pilgrims have to visit certain stations. A Bloomsday pilgrimage is no different. The structure of James Joyce’s Ulysses follows Homer’s Odyssey and is a journey in itself. Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus start in the morning of the 16 June 1904 on opposite ends of Dublin to finally meet in the evening. The amazing thing is that most of the locations from 1904 are still here to visit.
Start in Sandycove at the Martello Tower, now the James Joyce Museum, where Stephen Dedalus starts his day. Walk along Sandymount Strand where both protagonists come at different times. The Blooms reside in Eccles Street, which is in Joyce’s own neighbourhood and lies on the way to Glasnevin Cemetery where Bloom attends the funeral of poor Paddy Dignam. Buy a lemon soap at Sweny’s Chemist, which still retains the interior of a Victorian pharmacy and is run by volunteers. Have lunch at Davy Byrne’s like Bloom did in the Lestrygonians episode and visit the National Library and National Museum afterwards. Enjoy a drink at the Oval Bar before you greet the James Joyce statue on North Earl Street on your way to the Bloomsday hub, the James Joyce Centre, where dance professor Maginni from Ulysses gave his classes.
The easiest way to visit all these stations is by going on one of the many walking or bus tours the Bloomsday Festival offers. There is the Introducing Joyce’s Dublin Walking Tour on Tuesday 11 June, which explains the real-life inspiration behind some of Joyce’s most celebrated writing and will show just how central the streetscape of the ‘Hibernian metropolis’ is to the author’s life and art. The James Joyce Centre is also running Bloomsday Walking Tours all day on 16 June, which are fast selling out. There are even more walking tours available in the Bloomsday Fringe. If you want to experience all of the stations of Ulysses in one day and in comfort, go on the Joyce by Bus, the Bloomsday Eve or Bloomsday Bus tours, which will bring you across the whole city.
If you have been on a Bloomsday Pilgrimage before, then why not come back to dive a bit deeper into the world of Ulysses and visit locations that are a bit more off the beaten track. The Bloomsday Fringe gives you the opportunity to visit the Dunsink Observatory and see the Heaventree of Stars. Or experience the Dalkey Schoolroom Scene and go for a walk through the Nestor episode afterwards.
The Bloomsday Festival welcomes all pilgrims and hope you enjoy your own personal odyssey through Dublin, make some Bloomsday stories and connect to the fabric and people of the city.