In James Joyce’s Ulysses, a masterpiece of Irish Modernist literature, character Leopold Bloom spends an ordinary day—16 June 1904—walking around Dublin, going about his daily business, interacting with the people in his life, and musing on the things he encounters or observes in his travels. The work’s title comes from the Latin adaptation of the Greek work, The Odyssey by Homer. Ulysses follows a structure similar to the ancient namesake with the addition of Joyce’s wordplay, well-developed characters, and stream-of-conciousness writing style. The work was initially published serially, that is, one chapter at a time from 1918 to 1920. In 1922, the piece was published in its entirety (in book form) in Paris The day (16 June) was selected by the author as it marked the first date he had with his wife-to-be, Nora Barnacle.
From 1924, there are records of Dubliners celebrating the day—which eventually was called Bloomsday—dressing in Edwardian costume and re-tracing to route of Mr. Bloom through the city. Different people enact various characters from the novel, passages are read, and much drinking is expected. And the celebration is observed, to this day, throughout the United Kingdom, in Europe, Australia and in the United States.
The candlesticks, pictured above, are hand-crafted of Irish Connemara marble from the west of Ireland. No doubt, someone in Connemara may celebrate the day with a quaff.