Ireland Gets Ready to Celebrate Bloomsday

Literary types in Ireland will undoubtedly want to make special plans for Thursday, June 16, known to fans of James Joyce's novel Ulysses as Bloomsday. In the book, all of the story's action takes place on June 16, 1904, and devotees of Joyce's work have honored the day and the book's hero, Leopold Bloom, ever since.

Here are some places, courtesy of Tourism Ireland, where Joyce fans can honor the author and his work...

In Sandycove and Glasthule, Bloomsday is customarily celebrated with a street festival and unofficial and impromptu readings and performances throughout the day. Breakfast in Caviston’s and Juggy’s Well rolls on into brunch at Odell’s Restaurant and Fitzgerald’s pub.

The Forty Foot bathing place beside the Tower, where Buck Mulligan swims in Ulysses, is traditionally the place for a Bloomsday plunge to start the day. (A small voluntary contribution towards its upkeep may be made at the entrance.)

The James Joyce Museum at the Tower in Sandycove, where Ulysses opens, will be open all day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for readings and commemorations. Barry McGovern will read another episode of Ulysses at intervals during the morning and afternoon, starting at 9.30 am, and there will also be readings by Brenda McSweeney. The event is supported by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Heritage Office. Visitors are invited to contribute to the celebrations and to take inspiration from the museum’s collection of original Joycean material. The museum is open from April to August (normal hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 am to 1 pm, 2 pm to 5 pm; Sunday 2 pm to 6 pm; NB during June the museum will also be closed on Sunday). For more information, e-mail joycetower@dublintourism.ie.

Nearby in Dalkey, Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre will mark the day with exhibitions on local Joyce and literary connections and, at 3:30 pm, a recreation of the schoolroom scene in the second episode of Ulysses, which is set in the neighborhood. This is followed by a guided Joycean walk of the area, finishing with a session in the Queens. At 8 pm Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre presents a Joycean Evening of extracts from his works and music and songs either known to have been sung by Joyce or featured in his books. Tickets for the schoolroom scene and walk are €10, and those for the Joycean Evening are €15. Early booking is advisable as numbers are limited. The events are supported by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Heritage Office. For information, visit www.dalkeycastle.com.

In Dun Laoghaire, the Dun Laoghaire Business Association has organized a number of events for the day. A Road-Train will operate from the harbor to bring passengers along the seafront to Sandycove and back via George’s Street, Bloomfield’s Shopping Centre and Marine Road. There will be a Bloomsday breakfast al fresco outside St. Michael's Church in the town centre, two sittings at 8.00 and 9.30, and a French-themed street market nearby. Musicians and readers will perform at locations throughout the town, there will be competitions for appropriate hats and shopfronts, and there will also be entertainment for children. Details of the Dun Laoghaire events are available at www.visitdublin.com/dlr.

Pictured: Bloomsday performers outside Davy Byrne's pub, Dublin
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