Bloomsday - June 16, 2024

Last Updated on: 25 Nov 2022

What is Bloomsday?

Famous Irish novelist, poet, and literary critic James Joyce mentioned 16th June in one of his well-known novels Ulysses. The day is essential for the Novel as it was significant for the protagonist Bloom and James himself. 

Therefore, to celebrate the genius work and romanticism of James fans worldwide, celebrate 16th June as Bloomsday. One can enjoy the main festival in Dublin, the city which inspired James to write Ulysses.

Bloomsday: Quick Overview

  • Date: 16th June
  • Category: Art and Art & Entertainment
  • Where Is It Marked? USA
  • Why Is It Marked? To commemorate the life and legend of Irish writer James Joyce on Bloomsday.

History of Bloomsday

Now you know that there is a festival called Bloomsday. But why is it called Bloomsday, and what was his inspiration? Let’s find out. 

Bloomsday was first celebrated in Ireland in 1954 on the fiftieth anniversary of the first Bloomsday. On that day, writers Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien visited Martello Tower at Sandycove. 

The place is also known as Davy Byrne’s Pub. These are the places where Ulysses took place. And Joyce mentioned these places with passion, love, and appreciation. 

The pair read parts of Ulysses and decided to feast together, just like the protagonist Bloom. They did so to reminisce the memories of Joyce and probably feel what he felt when he was visiting Dublin,

Even before this celebration, another observation is also famous. The Novel's publisher, Sylvia Beach, and her partner have celebrated Bloomsday. She arranged a Bloomsday Lunch and guests to discuss the life and works of Joyce. 

And after so many years, Joyeceans around the globe celebrate this day wearing costumes like his characters, reading the Novel, and playing and feasting.

Why 1904, 16th June?

Joyce lovers and researchers believe that Joyce was inspired to create Ulysses while visiting Dublin. At that time, he met Nora Barnacle. They dated a few times and shared their moment of love during this timeframe. And later got married.

They met for the first time on 10th June and then met again on 14th. Due to some issues, he couldn’t meet Nora on the 15th. So, he requested Nora to arrange a meeting again on the 16th. 

According to the James Joyce Centre, Joyce considers this day one of the most important days of his life because they made love on that day. After that, while writing Ulysses, Joyce chooses 16th June June 1904 as the day when significant events happen with the main character Bloom. 

How to Celebrate Bloomsday?

The James Joyce Centre of Dublin arranges the biggest and week-long festival. Writers, poets, and literature enthusiasts gather together to relive parts of the Novel Ulysses. 

Here is how you can celebrate Bloomsday:

1. Reading Sessions

Almost every educational and research institution of literature arranges reading sessions on Bloomsday. Famous novelists and writers are invited to these programs, and they read part of Joyce’s creations to honor his genius work. 

2. Plays and Performances

Although Ulysses was a Novel, writers have also created many dramatic transformations in the meanwhile. Scriptwriters turn parts of the Novel or important scenes and conversations into plays that actors perform on Bloomsday events.

Radio dramas are also standard arrangements on Bloomsday. 

3. Re-enactment of Ulysses

Joyce depicted every character in his Novel in full detail. Therefore, copying the style of Mr. Bloom or any other character in Ulysses is easy. 

Every year on Bloomsday, the people of Dublin dress in Edwardian costumes and gather at places mentioned in Ulysses. Some people organize street performances as well. 

4. Feast like Bloom

The James Joyce Center hosts a fantastic Irish breakfast and reading sessions on Bloom's day. These breakfast items can feel weird for some people, but others find them interesting. Regardless, Bloom’s breakfast is one of the most talked about breakfasts in literature history.

Grilled sheep kidneys gave Bloom's tongue a tang of faintly tinged urine and piqued his interest in eating them. What Leopold Bloom had as his breakfast on 16th June is as follows:

  1. Bread and butter, 
  2. Fried pork liver and kidneys,
  3. Thick giblet soup,
  4. Nutty gizzards,
  5. Stuffed roast heart, 
  6. Liver slices fried with crust crumbs,
  7. Fried hencods’ roes. 

Countries that Observe Bloomsday

All the fans and admirers of Irish writer James Joyce celebrate Bloomsday on 16th June annually. Bloomsday is observed festively in Dublin, Ireland - the birthplace of Ulysses and probably the most influential place of Joyce’s life. 

Cultural centers in the city arrange cultural activities, reading sessions, pub crawls, dramatization, and many more activities throughout the week. 

Other than Dublin, fans of Joyce in the Uk, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, and France also celebrate the day. 

Interesting Facts about Bloomsday

After reading the list of Bloom’s breakfast, you must be thinking about what other interesting facts can be there about Bloomsday. Well, we still have a lot to tell you. 

  • The Bloomsday festival is celebrated from 12-18 June. 
  • In the Novel, on 16th June, Leopold Bloom is walking through Dublin. 
  • One can quickly glimpse the day of a marginalized citizen of Dublin if they read Ulysses. 
  • Bloom was a Jewish salesman in the Novel.
  • Ulysses has 800 pages that contain 2,65,000 words. It will take around a week for you to read the Novel. 
  • Ulysses has four stages of Joyce’s life. They are Death, Birth, Sex, and Art. 
  • There are theories that Joyce’s student in Trieste characterized Bloom. His name was Ettore Schmitz, a Catholic Jew. 
  • Publisher Mills and Boon rejected to publish Ulysses.

Unique Bloomsday Celebration Ideas

All the fans and admirers of Irish writer James Joyce celebrate Bloomsday on 16th June annually. If you have not read the Novel Ulysses yet, the best way to celebrate Bloomsday is to read it. You can enjoy reading it peacefully with a few cups of coffee or arrange any of the following celebration ideas and be Bloom on Bloomsday!

  • Arrange a house party and introduce Joyce to your guests. Share how Ulysses and other literature greatly impacted the history of literature. You can also discuss how Joyce included daily life in his novels and stories.  
  • If Dublin is far away, arrange a reading session with your friends in your neighborhood community center. All of you can take part and read sections from the Novel. 
  • You can organize a Bloomsday book club if you are still a student and engaged with club activities.
  • Discuss with your drama teacher to set up a performance on Ulysses. Make your stage the streets of Dublin.  
  • In many cities, people organize walking tours wearing the costumes of the characters of Joyce’s Novel. 

Bloomsday Quotes

Do you have any literary nerd friend who loves to read Joyce? Bloomsday is a day to wish him his favorite quotes from Ulysses to get hyped with Bloomsday spirit. 

“Love loves to love love.” 

“Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. The longest way round is the shortest way home.”

“Be just before you are generous.”

“Beauty: it curves, curves are beauty. Shapely goddesses, Venus, Juno: curves the world admires.” 

“The voices blend and fuse in clouded silence: silence that is infinite of space: swiftly the sound is wafted over regions of cycles of cycles of generation that have lived.”

“He laughed to free his mind from his mind’s bondage.”

“You cruel creature, little mite of a thing with a heart the size of a full stop.”

“The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.”


What do you wear on Bloomsday?

The ladies usually wear a long dark-colored skirt with a white blouse (that has ruffles) and a shawl to cover the shoulders. And men wear a black suit or white shirt with a waistcoat. 

What is a Bloomsday breakfast?

The Bloomsday breakfast arrangement serves traditional Irish breakfast with pork kidneys. Moreover, the guests can enjoy music and drama presentation from Joyce's Novel. 

Where can I go on Bloomsday?

Dublin city is the best place to celebrate Bloomsday.

Who invented Bloomsday?

The novelist Joyce said 16th June would be Bloomsday as the Novel's protagonist Leopold Bloom will experience many significant things today. 

Is Bloomsday a bank holiday?

No, it is not an official holiday in Ireland or anywhere worldwide.

How Long is the Bloomsday race?

The Bloomsday race is a seven-and-a-half-mile race.

Bloomsday Observances

2021Wednesday16 JuneBloomsday
2022Thursday16 JuneBloomsday
2023Friday16 JuneBloomsday
2024Sunday16 JuneBloomsday
2025Monday16 JuneBloomsday
2026Tuesday16 JuneBloomsday

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