Dublin’s 2019 Bloomsday celebrations will include an eclectic mix of activities from poetry and pub crawls to breakfasts and burlesque shows.
From 11–16 June, Dublin, a UNESCO city of literature, will honour the genius of James Joyce in its annual Bloomsday celebrations.
The festival recalls Thursday 16 June 1904, the day depicted in Joyce’s renowned novel Ulysses, which followsthe life and thoughts of its anti-hero, Leopold Bloom, for 24 hours.
Every year Dublin welcomes thousands of Joyce admirers from around the world, who come to follow in Bloom’s footsteps and join the citywide celebrations.
Although a literary festival, Bloomsday is not confined to book readings and lectures but spills out into the streets of Dublin in true Irish style.
Dressing in the fashion of the period is one way of getting into the swing of Bloomsday and the city will be full of Joyce enthusiasts sporting their finest Edwardian garb.
Eating a Bloomsday Breakfast while listening to readings and recitations is a must, as is a visit to key locations in the book including Sweny’s Chemist, where Bloom bought lemon soap. The shop is now a fascinating time capsule, surviving since 1847 with all its original fixtures and fittings.
Walking tours follow Bloom’s journey around Dublin, while the popular Joycean pub crawl visits the watering holes he frequented and presents the opportunity to discuss all things Joyce over a few pints of porter.
This year’s Bloomsday Interview is with Senator David Norris, one of Ireland’s leading Joyce scholars, which will take place in Joyce’s alma mater, Belvedere College.
Among the 2019 festival highlights are musical and theatrical performances that reinterpret and extend the Ulysses experience.
The Poetry Brothel presents an immersive literary cabaret nightclub experience, while BLOOMINAUSCHWITZ is a new theatrical adventure for Bloom that mixes clownish antics with high drama, rich stories and powerful imagery.
There is also a lively fringe programme including a number of music and drama performances at the Martello Tower in Sandycove, where the novel opens, and which is now the James Joyce Tower and Museum.
In a city of storytellers, the 2019 Bloomsday theme is aptly ‘What’s your story?‘. The festival organisers are encouraging everyone to share their own Bloomsday story this year to deepen the Bloomsday experience and strengthen the bonds between the devotees of this great masterpiece.