Bloomsday, an annual festival honoring James Joyce and the fictional hero of his novel "Ulysses," Leopold Bloom, is celebrated June 16 in Dublin. An 11-day tour to Ireland that begins June 13 will focus on the celebration in Dublin, the setting of "Ulysses." Joyce fans, many of them dressed in Edwardian costumes, will prowl the city, following in the footsteps of Leopold Bloom. Bloomsday festivities include recitations of parts of the novel by Irish actors and by Joyce's nephew.
Tour participants will also travel across Ireland to Sligo, where W.B. Yeats lived. Then it's on to Galway for scenery and secondhand bookstores. A trip to the Aran Islands will pay homage to John Millington Synge, playwright of "Playboy of the Western World." Also visited will be St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Writers' Museum and the homes of George Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde.
Accommodations include the Westbury Hotel in Dublin and a castle near Sligo.
Cost: $3,380 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Boston, all hotels, most meals, literary guide, luxury motor coach and a performance at the Abbey Theater. Space is limited to 25.
Contact: Specialty World Travel, 186 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02138; telephone (617) 476-1142.
Getaway Adventures, an adventure tour operator specializing in the wine country, is offering six-day spring bike vacations leaving March 7, 14, 21 or 28. The tours start in Calistoga, where there are hot springs, mud baths and spa treatments. Cyclists wind their way down the Napa Valley at a leisurely pace, stopping to tour and taste at wineries such as Sterling, Beringer and Opus One. The tour takes in the picturesque towns of Yountville and Sonoma, then proceeds to the Pacific Coast and the fishing village of Bodega Bay, made famous in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."
From Bodega Bay, the tour continues north along the Pacific Coast to the Russian River and the groves of towering redwood trees. The final day is through Sonoma County's Alexander Valley, with visits to Lambert Bridge, Preston and other wineries. A support van is available. The trip is rated easy to moderate.
Cost: $1,629 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, most meals and guides. Air fare and bike rentals are extra.
Contact: Getaway Adventures, 620 E. Washington, Suite 205, Petaluma, CA 94952; tel. (800) 499-BIKE.
The Archaeological Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization, is offering archeological tours in Central America. The "Belize & Tikal Tour" (March 20 to 29) begins on the coast of Belize, with a tour of Belize City and a boat ride up the New River to Lamanai, a Maya trading center occupied until 1641. From the coast the tour travels to the inner reaches of Belize and explores the mountaintop palace of Cahal Pech.
After a ferry ride to the ruins of Xunantunich, guests will tour El Castillo, a classic Maya pyramid. From Xunantunich, the tour travels to the recently discovered ceremonial site of Caracol.
Two days will be spent at Tikal exploring the Maya center in the Peten rain forest.
Cost: $2,295 per person, double occupancy. Air fare to Belize is not included.
Contact: The Archaeological Conservancy, 5301 Central Ave. N.E., Suite 1218, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1517; tel. (505) 266-1540.
China: Silk Route
A 21-day trip to China along the Silk Route and to Tibet, departing Aug. 10, will be led by Robert Blackey, a history professor at Cal State San Bernardino. The trip features Shanghai, Beijing and the Silk Route, including Urumqi,Turpan, Kashgar, Dunhuang, Jiayuguan, Xian, Chengdu and Lhasa.
Cost: $6,191 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles and flights within China, overnight train trip from Turpan to Dunhuang, best-available hotel accommodations with private bath, all meals in China, all sightseeing admissions and guide. Also available is an optional six-day extension in Shanghai and Hong Kong, with meals in Shanghai, sightseeing and additional air fare at $799 per person, double occupancy.
Contact: Robert Blackey; tel. (909) 880-5550.
Immersion in the culture and country life of southern France is the theme of a ReQuest Adventures small group tour May 16 to 22. A maximum of 12 guests stay in a 12th century hilltop villa with private guest cottages, surrounded by vineyards. The week includes daily excursions to historic sights such as the medieval town of Carcassonne, the Roman capital of Narbonne and ancient Cathar castles. Activities include a cruise on the Canal du Midi, wildflower walks, open-air markets, picnics and wine tastings.
Cost: $1,875 per person, double occupancy, including six nights in a hotel, all meals, transportation and escorted excursions. Air fare is not included.
Contact: ReQuest Adventures, P.O. Box 531, Corte Madera, CA 44976; tel. (650) 355-9180.