Bloomsday is a celebration that takes place both in Dublin and around the world. It celebrates Thursday 16 June 1904, which is the day depicted in James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses”. The celebration is derived from Leopold Bloom, the name of the protagonist of the novel, which follows the life and thoughts of this and many other characters from 8am on 16 June through to the early hours of the following morning.
Joyce chose this date as it was the date of his first outing with Nora Barnacle, his future wife.
Not long after “Ulysses” was published in 1922, the sixteenth of June began to be called Bloomsday .
In Dublin, the first celebration of Bloomsday took place on June 16, 1954, the fiftieth anniversary of the first Bloomsday, when Irish writers Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh and John Ryan visited the Martello Tower at Sandycove, the setting of the novel’s first episode and then took a carriage ride through Dublin, reading parts of “Ulysses” and drinking a lot.
Today’s celebrations include dressing up like characters from the book and gathering at many of the locations where episodes of “Ulysses” are set.
The Bloomsday Breakfast is another common celebration, which involves eating the same breakfast as the one Leopold Bloom consumed on that morning: liver, kidneys (“the inner organs of beasts and fowls”) and the typical ingredients of an Irish fried breakfast.