Bloomsday is upon us: the annual celebration of James Joyce’s heritage

Here Comes Everybody players have celebrated Bloomsday in the Boston area for many years, with performances, readings, and music, all derived from Joyce’s works. This year, HCE will celebrate both Bloomsday and Fathers’ Day with selected adaptations from Joyce’s work in drama and music related to fathers and fatherhood, on June 15 and 16 at the Mosesian Center for the Arts,321 Arsenal St., Watertown MA, 02472

Photograph, David Costa

Bloomsday celebrates Thursday, June 16, 1904, the day immortalized in James Joyce’s 1922 novel “Ulysses.” 

It’s an annual commemoration and celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce. The day is named after Leopold Bloom, the central character in Joyce’s novel, and the novel›s events are set on the same date in 1904.  Bloomsday is a tribute to Joyce’s contribution to literature and a celebration of Irish culture and heritage.


Ulysses begins at 8 a.m. on June 16,1904 when we meet Stephen Dedalus at the Martello Tower in Sandycove, south of Dublin. A later episode introduces Leopold Bloom at breakfast at his home in Eccles Street, Dublin, also at 8 a.m. The novel ends at 2 a.m. the next day with the celebrated 24,000-word soliloquy of Molly Bloom, the wife of Leopold Bloom. 

Between the opening and closing pages of the book, 18 episodes, loosely based on Homer’s “Odyssey,” record many details, some fictional, some based on historical and geographical facts, of life in Dublin on that day. In doing so, the book traces the activities, various conversations, and, through the use of the inner monologue, the thoughts of Bloom and Dedalus throughout the day, up to and including their eventual meeting in the red-light district and subsequent late-night conversations in various other locations in the city.