Thursday, June 20, 2013


Statue of James Joyce in Dublin

This past Sunday - June 16th was Bloomsday in Ireland which is a celebration of the writer James Joyce and his epic novel Ulysses. The day receives its name from Leopold Bloom the main character of Joyce’s book in which all of the events take place in Dublin on June 16, 1904.  Joyce and his famous novel are so beloved by the people of Ireland that his devotes created the celebration to honor the writer with pub crawls, marathon readings of the book, bike rides through Dublin following the specific paths of characters, and re-enactments from the book complete with period costumes. The first Bloomsday celebration in Dublin was held in 1954 – the 50th anniversary of the events of the novel.

Here are a few facts regarding Joyce’s masterpiece:

  • The novel Ulysses Is about 265,000 words in length
  • The entire novel takes place in one day - June 16th 1904
  • Ulysses is a parallel to Homer’s poem Odyssey
  • Parts of Ulysses were written in the stream of consciousness style
  • The book is divided into 18 episodes
  • Joyce wrote the novel from 1914 to 1921
  • It was banned in several countries including the US for years over obscenity rulings 

I was in Dublin in 2004 for the 100th anniversary of Ulysses and visited the Dublin Library and their phenomenal exhibit on Joyce and the book. Though I had to abandon reading the novel for Spark Notes is was an amazing experience to see his original notes and how he plotted the book. Ulysses is truly an amazing piece of work, and I had a wonderful day in Dublin celebrating Bloomsday. Here are some of my pictures.

Celebrating in period costumes at the James Joyce Centre.

Biking around Dublin

A grand parade through Dublin - what an entrance! 

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