What it’s like and where to go in Sandycove on Bloomsday

James Joyce once remarked, “When I die Dublin will be written in my heart.”

Although Joyce spent most of his life abroad, it’s no wonder Dublin city deemed the popular choice for his fictional literary universe. The ambiguous, yet curious and eccentric city of Dublin is full of life and character. The community I live in is exemplary to that of Joyce’s Dublin, especially on Bloomsday. It’s no coincidence that my parents bought our house on this particular day 14 years ago. Every year, without fail the people of Sandycove and Glasthule gather in crowds, and what for? To celebrate the life and death of the man himself.

Dublin’s men, women, and even children dress up in their finest clothes; striped suits, boater hats, silhouettes, and poodle skirts that I can only imagine have been passed down through generations, buried in their wardrobe for one day and one day only.

From 7.30am on Saturday, 16th June, the literary mile from Glasthule to Sandycove will be brought alive by Joycean festivities that will go on until the early morning hours of Sunday. The surrounding restaurants, delicatessens, and boutiques will host traditional Bloomsday food and drink, with Fitzgerald's pub featuring Leopold Bloom's rather odd choice of breakfast, consisting of liver, kidney and stuffed heart.

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The Glasthule & Sandycove GOING GREEN initiative is also launching on Bloomsday, with the local businesses, such as Cavistons Food Emporium, 64 Wine, and The Punnet taking action to reduce their waste, plastic, energy and water use. (even more of a reason to support the community).

Irish Michelin star and owner of Chapter one Ross Lewis, and Irish Masterchef judge and chef Robin Gill will also be hosting a cooking demo at Cavistons on the day, from 11:00-1:00pm.

Sandycove and Glasthule is filled with literary and historic scenery. The landmark that is the Martello tower (now the James Joyce museum), sets the scene in the first chapter of his infamous novel Ulysses. Irish actor Bryan Murray will read from Ulysses at the Martello tower from 9:00am and Caitríona Ní Threasaigh & Mary Pat Moloney will perform as the washerwomen from Joyce's "Finnegan's wake".

Right around the corner sits one of Dublin’s last traditional Victorian pubs, Charles Fitzgerald’s, which was established back in 1861. This pub offers local festival goers and fellow boozers alike an atmosphere that is enriched with history. Serving “Joycean” breakfast from 10:00am and lunch from 12.30-3.30pm, you can indulge in all that this special day has to offer. Craft brewer Wicklow Wolf even brewed their very own Bloomsday lager in association with the pub to mark the occasion, the name of this special lager, brace yourself, “Bloomin’ ‘Eck”… Now you’ve no excuse not to come down and try it.

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Charles Fitzgerald's pub

Join us this Saturday, 16th and celebrate this literary festival, Bloomsday with us, and remember – dress to impress.

Hero portrait: local artist John Short

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