Insider Tips

Bloomsday: A Guide to Looking the Part

By Visit DublinDublin's Official Tourism SiteBIO
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Bloomsday, a celebration of James Joyce’s 1922 masterpiece Ulysses, is fast approaching, and we’re excitedly looking forward to the festivities. For those of you unfamiliar with the novel - don’t fret! It’s a dense and lengthy read, but in brief, it’s set over one day (June 16) in Dublin, and follows a dapper character called Leopold Bloom as he makes his way around the city...

Bloomsday: A Guide to Looking the Part

Each year, Joyce enthusiasts, literature scholars, and casual fans alike come together from all over the world to celebrate the novel and follow Bloom’s trail, with fun events taking place all around the city. Most notably, fans don turn-of-the-century outfits to pay homage to Joyce himself, as well as the character’s lead protagonist Leopold Bloom and its central female figure, Molly. Fancy taking part, but don’t want to spend a fortune? Luckily, Dublin is home to an array of vintage stores, markets and boutiques. With that in mind, here are some handy tips to putting together your Bloomsday look...

For the men...

Gentlemen, it’s time to channel your inner James, and let your Bloom blossom! To emulate the iconic author, you’ll need...

Glasses & bowler hat

We reckon you’ll find your old-time accessories in the quirky boutiques and second-hand stores of cultural quarter Temple Bar. Its cobbled streets are also home to an abundance of cafés, bars and markets, so you’ll easily while away a few hours!

A dapper three-piece suit

Dublin has some fantastic flea markets, where you’ll no doubt dig out the makings of an authentic (but very affordable!) suit. The Ha’Penny Flea (every Saturday from noon – 6pm at über-cool pub and venue Grand Social) and the Dublin Flea Market; a sprawling wonderland of bric-a-brac, furniture, records and clothes that convenes on the last Sunday of every month at Newmarket Square) are veritable treasure troves.

Bloomsday: A Guide to Looking the Part
Bloomsday: A Guide to Looking the Part

For the women...

Women’s fashion in Ireland at the turn of the century was modest but feminine – think long skirts, ruffled blouses buttoned to the neck, boots (covering those ankles!), shawls and wide-brimmed hats adorned with flowers and ribbons. You’ll have great fun accessorising your ‘My Fair Lady’ look too pearls and brooches were hugely popular at the time. Here are some shopping suggestions:


Be sure to make your way to the iconic George’s Street Arcade, an impressive red-brick building that dates back to 1881. It is home to a whole range of quirky clothes stores, vintage shops and funky cafés. While you’re in this trendy area, known locally as ‘SoGo’, check out nearby Castle Market and Drury Street too. Not only will you find some unique clothes shops and boutiques, the place is always buzzing with fun-loving Dubliners out enjoying their city.

Costume jewellery

Get yourself to Cow’s Lane Designer Market on Saturday afternoon, wish through the windows of the Westbury Mall and of course, pop into the Powerscourt Shopping Centre. This lovely space is actually a renovated Georgian townhouse, complete with a ballroom formerly used to entertain guests. Explore its many nooks and crannies via the winding staircases to find charming boutiques, jewellery stores, and restaurants serving tasty treats.

Events in Dublin

When it comes to choosing what to do over this special weekend, you’ll be spoilt for choice. This year’s Bloomsday programme is jam-packed with walks, talks and even a Joycean-themed street party! On the day itself, the James Joyce Centre on North Great George’s Street will kick things off with a very hearty breakfast of sausages, beans, black and white pudding, just  like that enjoyed by Bloom in the novel.

Bloomsday: A Guide to Looking the Part
Bloomsday: A Guide to Looking the Part

Walk it out

We also recommend you attend a Bloomsday Walk at some point over the weekend. The Centre will run one at noon on June 16; bringing you on a fun-filled, 90-minute tour of Joycean Dublin where you can test out your fancy new get-up – you definitely won’t be the only one! Or, if you fancy exploring in your own time, some Ulysses places of interest include Sweny’s Chemist beside Trinity College, where you can buy a bar of the same lemon soap Bloom purchases in the book, and of course, the iconic Martello Tower in scenic Sandycove which is now home to the James Joyce Museum. A ride on the DART will take you there in less than half an hour, and a stroll via the Forty Foot (where Buck Mulligan swims in the novel – do you dare take a dip too?) will take you to the gorgeous seaside village of Dún Laoghaire. Become a local by treating yourself to an ice-cream from Teddy’s and taking a stroll out along the pier…

A final pit stop...

Back in the city, you can continue following in Bloom’s footsteps with a stop-off at Davy Byrne’s on central Duke Street, where he enjoys a gorgonzola cheese sandwich and glass of burgundy. A little rich for your taste? Maybe a pint of Guinness will do! Oh and don’t forget to pay homage to the author’s statue; you’ll find him standing proudly on the corner of North Earl Street and bustling O’Connell Street (home to the Spire and historic GPO). Lastly, don’t forget to keep an eye out for fun competitions and giveaways on the day itself; between the bowler hats and brunches, you’re guaranteed to have a blooming good time! 

Bloomsday: A Guide to Looking the Part