Ireland is home to some of the greatest creative minds in the history of the Western World. I’m talkin’ Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and William Butler Yeats, just to name a few. The legendary Irishman I would like to tell you about today is named James Joyce. Ireland is so proud of this guy that they gave him a holiday.
Who is James Joyce?
“Bloomsday” is a commemoration and celebration of the life of James Joyce, the renowned Irish novelist. Joyce is most famous for his works Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, which some of you may remember from high school English class. The novels often included in curriculums because they are the quintessential works of “stream of consciousness” writing. James Joyce is known as one of, if not the founder of this literary trend. His “stream of consciousness” style was a bold, new form of writing that coincided with modernist movements in art, music, theatre, and dance at the dawn of the 21st century.
What Happens on Bloomsday?
“Bloosmday” is most popularly observed in Dublin, Ireland on June 16th .In particular, It is named for the protagonist of Ulysses, Leopold Bloom. Celebrated on June 16th, when Leopold goes on his first date with his future wife, Nora Baranacle. Every year Dublin, men, women, and children get decked out full Edwardian dress (the style of the time period which Ulysses takes place). Other activities that day include a retrace of Leopold Bloom’s route through Dublin, including a visit to Davy Byrne’s pub. Die-hards hold marathon readings of Ulysses, some lasting up to 36 hours!
The first mention of a Bloomsday is in a letter from Mr. James Joyce himself, To a Miss Weaver from 1924. Which he writes, “a group of people who observe what they call Bloom’s day- June 16th…”. The day has grown more and more popular ever since. Bloomsday celebrated in so many countries as the UK, the US, Italy, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, and Latvia. But nothing compares to a Bloomsday spent in Dublin, Ireland. If you have not already read the works of James Joyce, perhaps this has given you something to add to your summer reading list! (Warning: his “stream of consciousness” style may or may not help you fall asleep on the beach and get a nasty little sunburn. And no, I’m definitely not speaking from experience….)
Sláinte, everyone! And happy reading!