Bloomsday is an annual celebration for literary connoisseurs and book lovers alike. A day dedicated to celebrating the 16th of June 1904 from James Joyce’s epic piece, Ulysses. The celebration is named after the main character Leopold Bloom, where the novel follows a day in his life, the people who cross his path, and his experiences during his day walking the streets of Dublin.
The Bloomsday traditions began in 1954, and are celebrated in Dublin every year, with participants dressing up in period costumes in the spirit of the novel, attending readings, performances and visiting places around the city that are mentioned in the book.
Ulysses was first published in 1922 by Irish author James Joyce. It has since been dubbed as one of the most epic pieces of literary writing in the 20th century due to its avant-garde approach to writing traditions, breaking many of the rules of thumb and carving its own creative and experimental path. Joyce made a name for himself with his work focussing on turn-of-the-century working-class life in Dublin. His other famous works include Dubliners, The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Finnegan’s Wake.
In honour of this year’s Bloomsday Festival, we’ve picked out twelve of our favourite Ulysses quotes by James Joyce to give you a glimpse into the life of Leopold Bloom on this famous day.
‘Love loves to love love.’
‘Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.’
‘Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.’
‘Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants, willing to be dethroned.’
‘Miss Dunne clicked on the keyboard:
—16 June 1904.
Five tallwhitehatted sandwichmen between Monypeny’s corner and the slab where Wolfe Tone’s statue was not, eeled themselves turning H. E. L. Y.’S and plodded back as they had come.’
‘Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.’
‘Coffined thoughts around me, in mummycases, embalmed in spice of words.’
‘I love flowers Id love to have the whole place swimming in roses God of heaven theres nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing then the beautiful country with the fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things’
‘Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.’
‘To learn one must be humble. But life is the great teacher.’
‘People could put up with being bitten by a wolf but what properly riled them was a bite from a sheep.’
‘It soared, a bird, it held its flight, a swift pure cry, soar silver orb it leaped serene, speeding, sustained, to come, don’t spin it out too long long breath he breath long life, soaring high, high resplendent, aflame, crowned, high in the effulgence symbolistic, high, of the ethereal bosom, high, of the high vast irradiation everywhere all soaring all around about the all, the endlessnessnessness…’
Shop the book:
The story of a day in the life of Leopold Bloom as he makes his way through the city of Dublin
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