Straw hats, street dancing and James Joyce impersonators – June 16th is no ordinary day in Dublin.
The date on which James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is set is now celebrated as Bloomsday, with activities including dressing up like characters from the book, re-enacting scenes and visiting the locations described.
One of the hallmark items of Bloomsday is the straw boater hat, popularly worn in the early 1900s when the novel is set.
Crowds of people gathered in Dublin to celebrate Bloomsday as Covid-19 restrictions ease in the Irish capital.
Many remarked that their attendance could be considered their “vaccine bonus”.
Men and women, many of whom were dressed in period costumes, came together on Duke Street on Wednesday to raise a glass to Irish author Joyce and re-enact scenes from Ulysses.
Joyce aficionados use the day to celebrate the novel in which the author aimed to “give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.”
Joyce’s magnum opus Ulysses is set on a single day, June 16th 1904, in the capital. Bloomsday is named after the book’s protagonist Leopold Bloom.
For the second year in a row the celebrations are taking place largely online due to the pandemic, but it did not stop many people, many of whom had received their Covid-19 jab, from marking the occasion outdoors.
A queue of people formed to take a selfie with Dermod Lynskey, who had done his upmost to impersonate Joyce by donning full period dress, while others wore face masks with Joycean quotes.
Another group of people formed a queue to get their photo taken hanging off the brass bar of a London red double-decker bus that was parked on the street.
This Bloomsday has seen a host of talks, readings and other events taking place, which are set to continue both online and in-person into the evening.
An evening of readings and songs to guide viewers through the main locations of the book will be hosted by comedian and performer Katherine Lynch, while a ‘Joycean Punk Cabaret (of sorts)’ hosted by actor Mary Murray will be an “alternative” theatrical presentation of extracts, songs and poetry celebrating “all things Joycean”.
The Bloomsday festival’s programme in full is available here.
✨Our annual Readings and Songs event takes place tonight from 6PM on our Facebook page and YouTube channel ✨
Join Katherine Lynch and friends, for an evening of readings and songs from Ulysses as part of the Bloomsday festivities.#Bloomsday #Ulysses #JamesJoyce #Dublin pic.twitter.com/Ao1zzq0gng
— Bloomsday Festival (@bloomsdayfest) June 16, 2021
Have a Bloomin’ great day! pic.twitter.com/haydDMB5Cm
— Books Upstairs (@BooksUpstairs) June 16, 2021
—Additional reporting by Press Association.