The James Joyce Centre offers you the possibility to book a private tour with one of our experienced tour guides. We can offer our regular tours privately to individuals or groups. Or we can offer specially tailored tours to suit any particular interests or requirements (see below). If you are inquiring for a group, please also have a look at the groups page. Private Tours are unavailable during the Bloomsday Festival as we offer additional walking tours, bus tours and pub tours during the Festival. You can find more information on the Bloomsday Festival here.
Regular Private Walking Tours
Though Joyce lived most of his life outside of Ireland, Dublin would provide the backdrop for virtually all of his work. On a stroll around the north inner city, our guide will explain the real-life inspiration behind some of Joyce’s most celebrated writing and will show just how central the streetscape of the ‘Hibernian metropolis’ is to the author’s life and art. The tour visits stops such as Joyce’s alma mater, Belvedere College; North Hardwicke Street, the setting of the short story ‘The Boarding House’; The Gresham Hotel, the setting of the final and most memorable scene of the short story ‘The Dead’; and the James Joyce Statue on North Earl Street, affectionately known as the ‘Prick with the Stick’. The tour also includes a visit to the site of one of the most famous addresses in English literature, No. 7 Eccles Street, and retraces the steps of Leopold Bloom’s celebrated journey to buy a pork kidney in the fourth episode of Ulysses. This tour ends on O’Connell Street.
Joyce once referred to Dublin as the ‘centre of paralysis’, a city that he felt was backward and repressive in contrast to the modern capitals of Europe. This idea found its expression in Dubliners, a short story collection that illustrates the effects of this restrictive atmosphere on the city’s population. Join our guide on a walk that visits some of the key locations from both the collection and the author’s life, discussing all the while Joyce’s critical portrayal of the social, religious and political landscape of his home town. This tour also gives some insight into the publication history of the collection, itself a story that creates a sense of Joyce’s artistic mission and his controversial approach to writing about Dublin. This tour ends around O’Connell Street.
The ‘Lestrygonians’ episode of Ulysses sees Leopold Bloom make his way through the city centre on his way from Middle Abbey Street to the National Library. As he begins to feel the rumblings of hunger, his thoughts become centred on the social, political cultural and religious significance of food; as he goes on to think, food underlies all relations to the extent that ‘peace and war depend on some fellow’s digestion’. Bloom’s musings on the importance of food are mixed with a commentary on the architecture that surrounds him, emphasising Dublin’s position as a colonial city. Join our guide as we follow in Bloom’s footsteps and discuss these thoughts, focusing on Joyce’s effort to bring the unsavoury workings of the body into a work of art and use food as the basis of a political and social commentary. This tour ends on Kildare Street.
James Joyce grew up in a Dublin where politics, art and culture were intrinsic parts of everyday life and conversation. Nationalism was on the rise and, in the world of literature, artists were engaging with ideas of Irish identity and experience in what was known as the Irish Literary Revival. Joyce was shaped by this environment, but he had a complex relationship with his contemporaries and his nation. Join us on a tour that explores Joyce’s debt to major Revivalist figures such as W.B. Yeats, his rejection of contemporary artistic trends, his critical approach to the city and his eventual decision to leave Ireland and spend most of his life in Continental Europe, taking in along the way such iconic and culturally important landmarks as the GPO, the Abbey Theatre and the National Library.
‘Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount Strand?’
This extended tour offers Joyceans an opportunity to get outside the city and explore the area around Sandymount that Joyce returns to in three episodes of Ulysses. Travelling by train from the city centre, this tour takes in Newbridge Avenue, the home of Paddy Dignam in the ‘Hades’ episode; the Star of the Sea Church & Leahy’s Terrace, featured in the ‘Nausicaa’ episode; and Sandymount Strand, the setting for both ‘Proteus’ and ‘Nausicaa’. It also takes in the Shelbourne Road (where Joyce rented rooms in 1904), Dromard Terrace (where Joyce spent the night of 16 June 1904), and the birthplace of WB Yeats.
Please Note: This is an extended tour, lasting approximately three hours. As the tour is longer than usual and includes transport outside the city, it is charged at a rate of €120 for up to four people and €30 per person thereafter. Duration may vary as the tour is dependent on public transport.
‘I was blue mouldy for the want of that pint. Declare to God I could hear it hit the pit of me stomach with a click.’
What better way to discuss Joyce than over a few pints of plain? Join our guide on a tour to some of Dublin’s best-loved pubs and learn all about the life and times of the author in the establishments that inspired his work! You’ll take in bars like the Gresham Hotel, Mulligan’s and of course Davy Byrne’s, where Leopold Bloom takes his lunch with a tipple in Ulysses.
Please Note: Because this is a unique tour it requires additional planning and is subject to certain restrictions. We need 6 weeks notice to book this tour, subject to availability of tour guides and venues. The tour lasts three hours and usually takes place from 6PM to 9PM. We cannot run this tour on Fridays or Saturdays. The tour is charged at a minimum rate of €150 for up to ten people; an additional charge of €15 per person applies thereafter. Drinks are not included in the price.
Tailored Walking Tours
We are always happy to tailor a tour if people have a special interest or need. Maybe you prefer a slower walking pace or you would like to visit specific locations or combine a couple of tours. If you are interested in a tailored walking tour, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The minimum charge for a private walking tour is a total of €60 for 1-4 people. If there are more than four, each additional person costs the standard tour price of €10 for an adult or €8 for students and seniors.This applies to our three main tours (Introducing Joyce’s Dublin, Dubliners, & Footsteps of Leopold Bloom) as well as the Irish Literary Revival Tour, that is, tours lasting approx. 90 minutes. The other two tours are priced individually as above.
- Tours can be customised according to your needs and interests.
- Private tours must be booked 6 weeks in advance, so we can ensure availability of our tour guides.
- You can choose your preferred tour, date and time depending on availability of our tour guides. The only days private tours cannot be booked are during our Christmas holiday closure, Easter Sunday and Monday, St. Patrick’s Day and during the Bloomsday Festival (11-16 June).
- A non-refundable deposit of €60 has to be paid in order to confirm the booking. The tours will go ahead in most weather conditions including rain.
- For more information, pricing details and to book your private tour, please contact email@example.com.