What to Do on Bloomsday
We are only a few days away from 16 June, the day that Joyce describes in Ulysses. On Bloomsday, follow in the footsteps of his novel’s characters as they go about their business in the city of Dublin. Listen to his words or immerse yourself in them by experiencing what the characters saw, smelled, tasted and felt at the various events that are taking place all over the capital.
For a traditional Bloomsday, visit the various locations from Ulysses that are still with us today. We have outlined the Stations of your Bloomsday Pilgrimage in this blog post here.
There are plenty of events happening throughout the day from walking tours to readings, to theatre and more. In the following, we have grouped events together after their location.
James Joyce’s old neighbourhood
Start the day with one of the traditional Bloomsday Breakfasts and eat what Leopold Bloom had for breakfast in the ‘Calypso’ chapter. The James Joyce Centre offers three sittings for breakfast (tickets are nearly sold out) or head on up to Glasnevin Cemetery for their breakfast and re-enactment of the ‘Hades’ episode.
Walk off the food with one of the many walking tours. The James Joyce Centre just released a few more tickets for their Bloomsday Walking Tours. Or head down to the GPO on O’Connell Street for a self-guided tour of their Witness History Museum to discover what went on during Ulyssean times in Dublin. If you are feeling naughty go on the Bloomsday Monto Walking Tour to explore the former red-light district of Dublin.
If you are feeling creative you can become part of the Bloomsday Body Painting Jam as an artist or a model and join the parade down to the traditional Bloomsday Readings and Songs on Wolfe Tone Square. For some more art, visit the Olivier Cornet Gallery and their Olives, Oysters and Oranges exhibition inspired by references to food in Joyce’s works. The gallery is only a 2-minute walk up the hill from the James Joyce Centre.
For refreshments in the afternoon, head back to the James Joyce Centre for their Afternoon Teas (2.30 & 4.30pm). There are only a handful of tickets left, so make sure to book today. Or head on up to Phibsboro, where Joyce and his father lived at various addresses, for their Bloomsday Celebrations or over to Arbour Hill to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Finnegans Wake at Lilliput Press.
Converge in the Laughter Lounge on Eden Quay just around the corner from O’Connell Bridge for the Bloomsday Blowout Cabaret and enjoy the midsummer madness. Finish the night with a ‘Barney Kiernan’s” cocktail at Bar 1661 right next to where the original pub from the ‘Cyclops’ chapter used to be.
On the southside of the city centre, enjoy your breakfast at Boxty House with the Joyce of Breakfast, join the Bloomsday Villages for a hearty morning meal or brunch at Bewley’s Café while being entertained with Joycean performances.
To refresh yourself, have some gorgonzola and Burgundy at Davy Byrne’s like Leopold Bloom in ‘Lestrygonians’ and listen to people read and sing from Ulysses on Duke Street.
In the afternoon, a full programme of art, theatre, music and film awaits. Watch the international guest performance of bloominauschwitz at the New Theatre in Temple Bar or go next door to enjoy the premiere of the second film in dancer and choreographer Aine Stapleton’s trilogy on Joyce’s daughter Lucia Joyce, Horrible Creature, in the Irish Film Institute.
Visit the Merrion Square Artists to pick your favourite Joycean painting, stop over in Sweny’s Chemist to buy some lemon soap as Leopold Bloom did in ‘Lotus Eaters’, listen to ‘Love’s Old Sweet Songs: Italian Opera in Joyce’s Ulysses’ - a concert featuring a selection of classic Italian opera and some Irish airs and excerpts from ballad opera, central to Joyce’s Ulysses in the National Library. For a more literary and academic interlude celebrate a Norwegian Bloomsday at the National Library at ‘The Words of Ibsen’ and James Joyce.
In the evening, meet us at the Bloomsday Blowout Cabaret to end Bloomsday 2019 in laughter and song.
Seaside Villages in South Dublin
If you prefer to spend your Bloomsday along the coast of South Dublin, start your day with a bracing dip in the Forty Foot bathing place in Sandycove like ‘Buck’ Mulligan did in the first chapter of Ulysses. Visit the James Joyce Tower and Museum right above it or head to Sandycove/Glasthule village for some food at the Bloomsday party in the main street. Alternatively, have your Bloomsday Breakfast in Sandymount, where the ‘Proteus’ and ‘Nausicaa’ chapters take place. Stay on for their Bloomsday celebrations on Sandymount Green. If you are feeling sporty, join the Bloomsday Bike Ride for some breakfast in Dalkey and a cycle tour to Sandycove to join the street party there.
In the afternoon, become part of the schoolroom scene in ‘Nestor’ at Dalkey Castle with a Joycean Walk immediately afterwards. For some theatrical entertainment in the evening, head to Blackrock for ‘A Play on Ulysses’, a live on-street performance with a big cast of actors, singers and musicians.
There is also plenty of other things going on this week in Dublin. If you are into food, you might want to try the Taste of Dublin in the stunning Iveagh Gardens behind St Stephen’s Green. If you are looking for more literary events, have a look at the programme for the Dalkey Book Festival. And there are plenty more events to suit your interests all over Dublin this week.