Bloomsday is nearly upon us: June 16, that is, the anniversary of that single day in 1904 when the action of James Joyce’s great novel, Ulysses, take place. Joyceans celebrate the day in a number of ways, including public readings and recreations of the wanderings of the novel’s main characters through the streets of Dublin. If you’re in Dublin itself, don’t be surprised to come upon men and women in Edwardian dress strolling down streets, entering pubs, quarreling, extemporizing, and much more.
Of course, you don’t have to be in Dublin or even Ireland to join in the fun. The James Joyce Centre offers this list of Bloomsday celebrations taking place around the globe. They also offer a list of events taking place in Ireland.
If you’re busy on Bloomsday itself, no worries. The James Joyce Centre offers walking tours of Joyce’s Dublin throughout the summer. Whether you’re interested in following in the footsteps of Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses, or exploring the settings for the stories in Dubliners, there’s a walking tour for you.
If you’d like to hear the author himself reading an excerpt of Ulysses, you can watch this quirkily animated photo on YouTube.
To some readers, Joyce’s writing seems willfully difficult and obscure. But Bloomsday reminds us that a lively, quick-witted, and thoroughly social spirit lives in his works—a spirit that manifests itself most happily, even raucously, every June 16.
You’ll find an excerpt of the first chapter of Ulysses, along with many fine Irish short stories, in Ireland: A Traveler’s Literary Companion.