“It was the day I made Jim a man” - Bloomsday

16 June is Bloomsday, celebrating the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses”, Thursday, 16 June 1904.
“It was the day I made Jim a man” (Nora Barnacle-Joyce)

Firstbloom: a quite illustrious crowd assembled in Sandymount in 1954  

Bloomsday is usually celebrated in Dublin by Joyce devotees dressing up in Edwardian clothing or dark suits and a high grade ha', visiting scenes from the novel and emulating the story line, i.e. starting the day either at No 7 Eccles Street or at the omphalos, the Martello Tower at Sandycove, reading the novel there and swimming at Forty Foot, eating a gorgonzola sandwich with a glass of burgundy at Davy Byrne’s, buy lemon soap (“We're a capital couple are Bloom and I. He brightens the earth. I polish the sky“) at Sweny’s in Lincoln Place, eat pork kidney for breakfast, etc.

Omphalos: The Martello Tower at Sandycove

, the first Bloomsday was celebrated on the 50th anniversary of the events in the novel by the Joyce groupies John Ryan, Anthony Cronin, Brian O’Nolan / Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavangh and the dentist Tom Joyce, the master’s cousin (see picture below), even though James himself gave a “déjeuner Ulysses” on 16 June 1929 at a “Hotel Leopold” he had discovered near Paris, together with his editor Sylvia Bleach and other writers, Samuel Beckett among them. On their way home Joyce and Beckett stopped at every pub to drink more wine until their cabby decided he’d had it and left the two at the gentlemen’s facilities of an establishment and drove home. The two geniuses returned to Paris the day after.

Portrait of the artist in 1904

today is by no means observed in Dublin exclusively. A growing international fan community from Hungary, where Leopold Bloom’s fictional father was born, to the US with very special local customs or just a pub crawl in remembrance of the novel, Bloom and James Joyce. Some unfortunate, isolated souls are even forced to celebrate the day by singing the songs mentioned in the novel and get drunk on their own.

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