Walk around Dublin on a normal day and you’ll see plenty of references to James Joyce’s famous novel, Ulysses. Walk around on June 16, however, and you will encounter Joyceans in Edwardian dress reenacting Leopold Bloom’s ordinary-epic journey.
Festivities begin at 8:30am at the James Joyce Center on North Great Georges St. with a breakfast of the inner organs of beasts and fowls and pints of “foaming ebon ale. In the Georgian town- house an engrossed group listens as local actors, musicians, and politicians render selections of the book. Outside, street performers and the Balloonatics Theatre Company perform particularly amusing scenes, encouraging audience participation. Even those who never dared open the tome find it surprisingly accessible.
Events continue around the city, from lunch at Davy Byrnes to tours of Joyce’s Dublin, and end well into the night with more performances and music in Wynn’s Hotel on Lower Abbey St.
Bloomsday 2004 is especially significant as it marks the centennial of the original Bloomsday: June 16, 1904. Plans are underway for a street-fair with life-size puppets and actors to recreate the red-light district of Edwardian Dub-lin. Expect the usual festivities as well, including a visual-arts exhibit and film festival. (For more info, visit www.bloomsdaylOO.org. tures a wide range of Joyceana, including portraits of the individuals who inspired his characters. Call for info on walking tours, and Bloomsday events. (35 N. Great Georges St. s878 8547. Open July-Aug. M-Sa 9:30am-5pm, Su llam-5pm; Sept.-June M-Sa 9:30am-5pm, Su 12:30-5pm. ‚4, students and seniors ‚3.)
ST. STEPHEN’S GREEN AND MERRION SQUARE.
Once a private estate, St. Stephen’s Green was later bequeathed to the city by the Guinness clan. Today, its 22 acres teem with public life of all sorts, ranging from swans gliding on the artificial lake to punks relaxing by lovely fountains. During the summer, musical and theatrical productions are given near the old bandstand. (Open Su lOam-dusk, M-Sa 8am- dusk.) The fully restored Newman House, St. Stephan’s Green South, was once the seat of University College Dublin, the Catholic answer to Trinity. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man chronicles Joyce’s time here. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins spent the last few years of his life teaching classics at the college.
(Open to individuals only from July-Aug. Tu-F noon-5pm and Sa 2-5pm. Groups admitted throughout the year with advanced booking. Admission ‚4.) Shaw’s Birthplace, 33 Synge St. offers a glimpse at the childhood of author and playwright George Bernard Shaw. His love of music and art is said to have started in his mother’s recital room and garden. (Open May-Sept. M-Sa 10am- 5pm, Su llam-5pm. Admission ‚5.50, concessions ‚5; joint ticket with Dublin Writers Museum ‚7.)
ALONG THE QUAYS. Not quite the Seine, a walk along the River Liffey can be pleasant enough. To see Dublin’s greatest architectural triumph, visit the Custom House. The House was built by James Gan- don, who gave up the chance to be the Russian state architect in order to settle in Dublin. The building’s Roman and Venetian columns and domes hint at what the city’s 18th-century Anglo-Irish highbrows wanted Dublin to become. Carved heads along the frieze represent the rivers of Ireland; Liffey is the only lady. (East of O’Connell St. at Custom House Quay. Visitors’s center open mid-Mar. to Nov. M-F 10am-5pm, Sa-Su 12:30-2pm; Nov. to mid-Mar. Su 2-5pm and W-F 10am-5pm. Admission ‚1.50.) Another of Gandon’s works comes into sight just a few quays west of the Custom House. Four Courts, Inn’s Quay, has a monumentally impressive facade, and was once seized by members of the IRA, sparking the Irish Civil War when members of the Free State Government attacked the garrison there. The building now houses Ireland’s highest national court. (Open M-F 9am-4:30pm. No scheduled tours. Free.) Finally, check out fascinating St. Michan’s Church. The dry atmosphere within the nave has preserved the corpses in the vaults; it was these seemingly-living bodies that inspired Bram Stoker to write about the living dead- man in Dracula. Of particular interest is a 6V2 ft. tall (dead) crusader and the hanged, drawn, and quartered bodies of two (very dead) 1798 rebels. Fun for the whole family. (Church St. Open Mar.-Oct. M-F 10am-12:45pm and 2-4:45pm, Sa 10am- 12:45pm; Nov.-Feb. M-F 12:30-3:30pm, Sa 10am-12:45pm. Church of Ireland services Su 10am. Admission ‚2.50, students and seniors ‚2, under-16 ‚1.)
SMITHFIELD AND ELSEWHERE. At the Old Jameson Distillery, learn how science, grain, and tradition come together to create the golden fluid called whiskey. Be quick to volunteer in the beginning and you’ll get to sample a whole tray of different whiskeys. Even the unchosen are blessed, however, with a glass of firewater at the end. (Bow St. From O’Connell St. turn onto Henry St. and continue straight as the street dwindles to Mary St. then Mary Ln. then May Ln.; the warehouse is on a cobblestone street on the left. Tours daily 9:30am-5:30pm. ‚7, students and seniors ‚4.) Continue your drinking at the nearby Dublin Brewing Company, 144-146 N. King St. a small brewing company that runs fun, personal tours with plenty of hops to smell and beer to taste. You get more beer for your money than at that other brewery in town, and more often than not, the tour guide partakes as well. (Tours every hr. from noon-6pm. Tickets ‚9.) Outside of the city’s center, Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest enclosed public park, is most famous for the 1882 Phoenix Park murders. The Invincibles, a nationalist splinter group, stabbed the Chief Secretary of Ireland, Lord Cavendish, and his Under-Secretary 180m from the Phoenix Column. The 712-hectare park now incorporates the Presi-dent’s residence (Aras an Uachtarain), cricket pitches, polo grounds, and grazing deer. Dublin Zoo, Europe’s largest, is in the park. It contains 700 animals and the world’s biggest egg. (Take bus #10 from O’Connell St. or #25 or 26 from Middle Abbey St. Park open 24hr. Free. Zoo open M-Sa 9:30am-6:30pm, Su 10:30am-6:30pm. Closes at sunset in winter. ‚10, students ‚8.)
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