One of the things Dublin is most famous for is as being the home of the renowned writer, James Joyce. Joyce famously wrote the novel Ulysses, which is set in Dublin and follows the adventures and misadventures of a young man named Leopold Bloom who is out looking for a son. The book takes place in one day, and begins in Bloom’s humble abode and takes him all around Dublin before he finally ends up right back where he started.
Last weekend was Dublin’s Bloomsday Festival, which celebrates James Joyce and his novel Ulysses. The festival was named for the book’s main character and is a much loved celebration today. All over the city, various locations host different festivities and events for lovers of Joyce and his eclectic cast of characters.
First, visitors can kick off the morning by meeting at the James Joyce Center for the Bloomsday Breakfast. The breakfast consists of everything that Leopold Bloom cooked for his wife Molly in the fourth chapter of the book – pork kidneys, toast, and tea. Live actors also perform dramatic readings while guests enjoy their meal. After the meal, the James Joyce Center is open for visitors to tour, and if they’re lucky, they would have got to see the local Joyce impersonator who lives across the street and dresses up as the author every year!
After breakfast, Joyce fans could head out on either a bus or walking tour of Dublin, which stops by different famous monuments and sights that are featured in the book. Some of the stops include Glasnevin cemetery and Sweny’s Pharmacy, where you can still buy Leopold’s famous lemon soap. Included in the bus tour are free straw hats, which are a great souvenir of the day.
After the hectic morning, visitors can take a trip out to Davy Byrne’s pub and have Leopold Bloom’s appetizing lunch – a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy. The pub also gives out free hats on Bloomsday, so anyone who forgot to pick one up on the bus could snag one there. Guests were able to end day by stopping into Temple Bar for more live readings and a chance to meet and talk with some of the actors! Overall it’s quite the event, with plenty to do, and lots of avid fans dressing up in Edwardian costume to really get into the mood.
If you didn’t make it out to Bloomsday this year, don’t worry, you can always come back for a visit next year! And in the meantime, you can try following my James Joyce Walk through Dublin here. Next week I’ll be writing about where to go for Dublin’s best cups of tea and coffee. See you then!