A friend of the shop connected to the Irish Embassy has invited us to ride in the Embassy of Ireland Bloomsday-Yeatsday Celebration on 16 June. Embracing our adventurous spirit, we said yes to a daytime social in vintage costume, taking a huge leap of faith you'd come along for the ride.
Bloomsday pays tribute to Leopold Bloom, the central character in James Joyce's Ulysses. The annual celebration is big in Dublin, where thousands of people recreate Bloom's epic ramble through Dublin on June 16, 1904. Edwardian costumes are an essential component of the celebration.
Cities around the world hold Bloomsday celebrations.
The U.S. Embassy of Ireland is celebrating Bloomsday in Dupont Circle Park from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. All Washingtonians are invited to the free celebration of readings, music and more. Participants are encouraged to bring lunch to satisfy their literal and literary hunger.
We've been invited to partner for a Bloomsday bike rally to the picnic celebration. Here's the scheme:
- Assemble at 11:30 a.m. at 440 K St NW
- After short history talk by our local historian and Irishwoman friend of BicycleSPACE, ride departs at 11:45 a.m.
- We parade through the central city in period costumes on as many vintage bikes as we can find/borrow/commandeer
- Taking a relatively direct route, we arrive at Dupont Circle for the 12:30 celebration
Let's make this work, BicycleSPACE mates!
Telecommute, schedule a doctor's appointment, take flex time. Free yourself from your desk and travel back in time with us for one extended lunch break.
We have only one chance to make a good first impression on the Irish Embassy.
Also, we have to dress the part. Think of it as a Tweed Ride with an Irish accent. Not everyone has to be in full costume. A top hat and bow tie is sufficiently symbolic. Our expert historian is here to help us with our costumes. But, we do have to be properly outfitted in some way, shape or form.
The Dublin tradition is to dress in Edwardian costumes. Leaders of past D.C. Bloomsday events do not fixate on historical accuracy, but have found that a good impression of early 1900s Dublin can be made with the following tips:
For Gentlemen: Tweed, linen or white jackets, hats of some sort including caps or boaters, bow ties and suspenders. Bonus points for such additional accessories such as monocles, brass-tipped canes, lapel flowers, etc. Other looks of the time include bike delivery boy in a cap, black pants, white shirt, big apron and wicker basket on bike.
For Ladies: One style is a flouncy blouse beneath a modern-day full-length evening or bridesmaid dress with a brooch at the neck and wide belt/sash. Another look that works is white button-up blouse (with brooch), long skirt and straw hat. Bonuses for wicker baskets, up-dos, hair fascinators, dangling pearls and parasols.
Possible sources could include back of the closet, elderly relatives, local thrift store, or that pal who's really great at coming up with original Halloween outfits.
Get in the spirit by watching this Dublin video and thanks in advance for agreeing to our madcap idea.
Bring your own bike -- ideally vintage* -- and picnic lunch. Feel free to post your costume questions on our Facebook event page.
* Want to buy a head turner for the occasion? We suggest a classic Pashley Cycles jewel, such as the Countryman or Princess, available now at BicycleSPACE.