Buck-le Up! Our Pick of The Best Things To See and Do in Dublin This Bloomsday

Posted 1 month ago in Festival Features, Food & Drink Features


Edwardian dress is the order of the day as the city’s literati don their glad rags and come out in style to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Joyce’s epic novel. Our resident wordsmiths have put together some Joycean highlights for your consideration.


Breakfast, Burgundy, Gorgonzola…

The packed programme sees early birds getting proceedings underway at James Joyce Tower in Sandycove, with a number of Bloomsday Breakfasts taking place at a variety of venues in the heart of the city. These include Belvedere College from 8.30am and Kennedy’s of Westland Row from 10am, while The Citizens’ Breakfast which gets underway on Shelbourne Road at 11.30am, includes a quick sup and a bite or two with Joyce, Bloom, and other characters as part of Act Two in Slattery’s.

Each of these events are accompanied by readings and performances, following which many Joyceans are scheduled to continue their odyssey with more shenanigans at Sweny’s Pharmacy, the chemist shop immortalised in Lotus Eaters, the fifth episode of Ulysses.

Later on, a pit stop at Davy Byrne’s for a glass of burgundy and a gorgonzola sambo is pretty much de rigueur, with revellers encouraged to save some space for a unique afternoon tea as The James Joyce Centre teams up with Vintage Tea Tours for a special departure at 3.30pm.


‘The Most Historic Spot in All Dublin’ – Guided Tour of the Remains of St. Mary’s Abbey

A rare treat for those interested in Dublin’s past as, in honour of Joyce, the Office of Public Works is offering free tours of the Abbey during the Bloomsday Festival.

St. Mary’s Abbey, founded in 1139, was one of the largest and most important medieval monasteries in Ireland. Although there are few visible remains of the Abbey today, its memory is preserved in local street names – Abbey Street, Little Mary Street, Capel Street (from the Latin Capella) and Mary Street.

Of the original buildings there now remains only the Chapter House and the Slype. James Joyce writes about St. Mary’s Abbey in Ulysses and references the streets it inspired throughout his oeuvre.

Tour Schedule: June 10, 12, 14 at 11am. Tickets are free but booking is essential. June 16 at 1-3pm. No booking required. Numbers are limited inside the space, so visitors may have to queue for entry.


Strolling Through Ulysses At IMMA

A 75-minute one-man show that tells the fun-filled story of Bloomsday. Written and performed by the inimitable Robert Gogan, the play guides you through the curious events and quirky characters of Ulysses in a humorous (bawdy), entertaining (irreverent) and informative manner.

The play is part of the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)’s Outdoors programme on the eve of Bloomsday. It takes place on Saturday June 15th 2024 at 7.15pm.

Non ticketed, just rock up!


Bloomsday Film Festival

The Bloomsday Film Festival, billed as the most literary film festival in Ireland, features a packed programme of events including a special 20th anniversary screening of Lenny Abrahamson’s Adam and Paul.

This year’s festival, run in partnership with the Bloomsday Festival and the James Joyce Centre, offers a unique festival experience blending film and literature in celebration of James Joyce’s relationship with cinema and the city of Dublin.

The 2024 programme sees Triestine filmmaker Martin Turk visit the IFI to present his side of the story about Ireland’s first cinema theatre in his documentary Kino Volta. Meanwhile Alice in Wonderland is given nightmarish treatment in experimental film The Disembodiment of Alice inspired by Finnegan’s Wake. Both films screen at the IFI and will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers.

The James Joyce Centre will play host to an eclectic array of short films ranging from short stories about Dublin, to films with a Joycean, literary, poetic and experimental theme. Urban beekeepers, boxing clubs and the Smithfield Market feature in documentary shorts, while actor Colm Meaney provides the voice of George Bernard Shaw in a madcap puppet film which portrays a fascinating spat between Shaw and Shakespeare.

Lalor Roddy pops up as Ezra Pound, while there is also a special focus on Lucia Joyce and collaborations with the Contemporary Music Centre and the Adrian Brinkerhoff Poetry Foundation. The festival culminates with a lively Award Ceremony at the IFI with music from Irish singer-songwriter David Keenan.

Bloomsday Film Festival takes place from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 16th June, further information and tickets can be found here: bloomsdayfestival.ie/bloomsday-film-festival/


Counterparts and A Little Cloud

Joyce’s collection of short stories provides vivid slices of life of early 20th century Dublin. Against the backdrop of a society in paralysis, a pair of Dublin lives are revealed in stark, sometimes brutal, scenes.

The Volta Theatre Company’s production of two short stories from Joyce’s Dubliners for Bloomsday sees performances by actors, Jim Roche and Liam Hourican, in the iconic setting of the Joyce Centre’s Georgian drawing room, and featuring period music with musicians Feilimidh Nunan and Conor Sheil. The audience can look forward to an exquisite, intimate study of Joyce’s Dublin and its lives of quiet desperation.

Those who miss this special Bloomsday production can catch it at Bewley’s Cafe Theatre from June 24th to July 20th.

Sunday June 16th. Booking via bewleyscafetheatre.com


Bloomsday Garden Party at MoLI

Wrap it all up with a glass of something lovely and some great tunes at the lively Bloomsday Garden Party, in the scenic surroundings of MoLI, the literary museum named after the legendary Molly Bloom.

After all that, there can be little doubt that the ‘longest way round’ is most definitely ‘the shortest way home’.

Words: Martina Murray and Adhamh Ó Caoimh

Bloomsday takes place on Sunday June 16th, with a week-long series of festivities and shenanigans  leading up to the day itself. The Bloomsday Festival takes place at various locations throughout the city from Tuesday June 11th to Sunday June 16th.

For full Festival listings and ticket info visit bloomsdayfestival.ie


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National Museum 2024 – English


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