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Day 11 – Bloomsday

It’s Bloomsday in Dublin. This is the day James Joyce’s 1922 novel Ulysses (with parallels to Homer’s Odyssey) takes place in Dublin in 1904. That is also the day Joyce and Nora Barnacle (remember her house in Galway?) had their first date. We head out for some lunch and information from the tourist info (the i on this map near the west end of Trinity College). We find out that there’s A LOT of things going on — it’s rather overwhelming. We’re running late and speed walk to the James Joyce Centre for the 2 pm tour.

It’s a large crowd for the walking tour. They split us into 2 groups. It turns out this walking tour is organized around the Cyclops chapter. Our tour guide is an energetic woman in period costume (it was hot that day too!). We stop by several locations on the north end of Dublin that are important to Joyce and that era. Near the end of the walk we round a corner and find several costumed people — these are the Balloonatics theatre company. They perform a few exchanges from the novel that occurred at the pub that we are standing in front of. The walk ends at St Mary’s Abbey, a 12th century church. You have to descend stairs from modern street level to Viking street level some 10 feet lower to enter. Inside some more Balloonatics perform scenes from Ulysses. It is very cool in the church since we are partially below ground.

It’s nearly time for some food so we head back across the river Liffey to eat and plan tomorrow. We do some browsing on the pedestrian Grafton Street (busy, full of shops).

The night in the hotel proves unbelievably noisy with some American boys next door talking loudly both in the hallways and in their room at 3 am. We tell them to be quiet, they don’t care. We tell the hotel desk to tell them to be quiet, they don’t care. We have the hotel desk find us a room on a quieter floor. It turns out there is a room on the 5th (top) floor, we’re on the 2nd. We literally walk up there and crash in the empty room. We’ll move our things in the morning.

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