4 Ways to Celebrate Joyce on Bloomsday

by Emma Cueto

If you are a diehard James Joyce fan, the sort of person who actually made it through Finnegan's Wake (and maybe even understood what was going on) then Happy Bloomsday! Every year on June 16, the day on which Joyce's most famous work Ulysses theoretically takes place, people from all over the world celebrate James Joyce's work. And if you'd like to be one of those people, here's how to do it!

Check Out What's Going On In Your City

If you happen to be in Dublin today, you're definitely in luck! There are tons of Bloomsday celebrations going on, including pub crawls, readings, and walking tours from the James Joyce Center that let you retrace Harold Blooms path through Dublin in Ulysses .

If you're not in Dublin, never fear: There are tons of other cities that hold events. New York's Bloomsday on Broadway features actors dressing up as parts from the book as well as readings (and lots of drinking at the Ulysses Folk House downtown). In Los Angeles, the bookstore The Hammer hosts a reading of the densest and dirtiest parts of the book, along with providing beverage. And lots of other cities have events as well, from Washington D.C. to Cleveland, Ohio. Check out what's going on in your area and get in on the fun.

Dress Up

Even if there's nothing fun organized in your area (or if there is), dressing up is always a good time. Pull that old top hat from last Halloween out of your closet and throw together an Edwardian costume to feel like you, too, are on the streets of Joyce's Dublin. If you can dress up like a specific character, all the better. (And if nothing else, wear all black with a makeshift priest's collar — there are a lot of priests in Joyce).

Read Ulysses

You don't need any fancy clothes or silly friends to read Joyce's work. Ulysses is the most traditional Bloomsday fare, but if you're feeling more like Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man or maybe The Dubliners today, go for it (especially since this year is The Dubliners' 100th anniversary).

And if you're looking for a bit of a more communal experience, you can also listen to Radio Bloomsday's annual reading starting at 7 P.M., including the entirety of Molly Bloom's monologue, performed with two actresses as though it were a conversation between Molly and her younger self. If you're in New York, you can tune into 99.5 FM, and if you're not you can tune into the Internet. Just don't miss it!


Joyce's Dublin is always a awash in alcohol, and in celebration, you can be, too. Channel your inner Dubliner and grab yourself a Joyce-themed cocktail, or just a good old fashioned pint of Guinness. If you want, you can combine the drinking and the reading. Given how much Joyce liked his liquor, reading his work while drunk seems like a fitting tribute.

Image: Wikipedia Commons