Bloomsday, 16th June, is the now annual celebration of that famous day depicted in James Joyce’s modernist novel ‘Ulysses’.
It was first celebrated in Dublin by a group of artists and writers, including John Ryan, Flann O’Brien and Patrick Kavanagh in 1954, when they took a horse and cart from the Martello Tower in Sandycove and traced the footsteps of Leopold Bloom and other characters – eating, drinking, mainly drinking, and reading as they went.
Today, Bloomsday is celebrated by Joyceans across the globe with readings, performances, re-enactments, and a host of other events. In Dublin, enthusiasts dress in Edwardian costume and gather at many of the locations where scenes in Ulysses take place. Grab a copy, get in your Joycean garb and retrace the author’s footsteps. Alternatively take part in one of the many, many events that take place in celebration of Bloomsday.
Guided Tours: There is a series of walking tours and a day-long bus tour on Friday, 13th June organised by the James Joyce Centre to celebrate Bloomsday and ramble through the landmarks of Ulysses. Tuesday 10 June to Monday 16 June, James Joyce Centre, 35 North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1.
On Exhibition: ‘Lee Miller in James Joyce’s Dublin’ is a selection of 60 unseen images from Vogue’s 1947 feature ‘When James Joyce Lived in Dublin’ which will be launched on Bloomsday 2014. The exhibition features portraits of post-war Dublin and important Joycean locations that were thought to never have been photographed.
The photographer’s son and biographer, Antony Penrose, will deliver a talk ‘The Legendary Lee Miller’ which will be followed with a reception generously sponsored by Teelings Whiskey. Featuring hundreds of Miller’s images to launch the exhibition. Tuesday, 11 June, 6.30pm. James Joyce Centre in North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1. The exhibition will run until December.
Drama: The Dubliner’s Dilemma is a one-man show which brings the history and the stories of James Joyce’s ‘Dubliners’ to life, as Joyce’s publisher debates whether or not to publish the manuscript and risk breaching British and Irish obscenity laws. From Wednesday, 11 June – Monday, 16 June, 7pm. James Joyce Centre, 35 North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1.
In conversation: John Banville with Will Self discuss the influence and their experience of Joyce’s short story collection ‘Dubliners‘. Published 100 years ago on 15 June 2014. Sunday, 15 June, 3pm, James Joyce Centre, 35 North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1.
Bewley’s Breakfast: Breakfast is one of the quintessential Bloomsday celebrations. Experience the food with scenes from Ulysses, then pop back to the centre later for exhibitions and other events. Monday, 16 June, 8am, 10am & 12 noon, James Joyce Centre, 35 North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1. Tickets cost €25 and are available online.
Drink: In Ulysses, James Joyce mused that “a good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub”. But it isn’t the day to try. Take in Dublin’s pubs while meeting speakers, poets, singers and storytellers with readings from Dubliners and Ulysses. Literary Pub Crawl, Saturday 14 June, Sunday 15 June, 2pm – 4.45pm.
Book Launch: As 2014 is also the 100th anniversary of the publication of Dubliners, the launch of Dubliners 100 and ‘in conversation’ events by 15 of Ireland’s most exciting writers, including John Boyne and Evelyn Conlon are happening at the Irish Writer’s Centre. Saturday, 14 June, 1pm, Irish Writer’s Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1.Tickets €7/5 available on the door.
Street Theatre: Each of the fifteen Dubliners stories will be brought to life through dramatised excerpts from the text on North Great George’s Street. Sunday, 15 June, 1pm, North Great George’s Street. Free. No booking required.
Bizarre Bloomsday Brunch: By Happenings, this will showcases a the wackier side to Edwardian Dublin. Joycean Dublin knew how to have a good time. Sunday 15 June, 1pm – 3pm, North Great George’s Street. Free. No booking required.
Cinema: The IFI Irish Film Archive presents John Huston’s adaptation of Joyce’s The Dead, starring Donal Donnelly, Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann. The Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Tickets €9/7.60 www.ifi.ie
Illustrations on Exhibition: Pop into the Little Museum of Dublin to view a selection of Robert Berry’s hand drawn ink illustrations from the new, limited edition publication of ‘The Dead’ published by Stoney Road Press to mark the centenary of Dubliners. At the Little Museum of Dublin from Thursday, 12 June onwards, 15 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.
Readings and Songs: Peter Sheridan hosts an afternoon of readings and songs from Ulysses. Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Monday, 16 June, 3pm – 6pm. Free and open to the public; limited seating available. No booking required.
James Joyce Centre
35, North Great George’s Street
Tel: 01 878 8547
Lead image courtesy James Joyce Centre Facebook page; Martello Tower image courtesy Rory G. on foursquare