This last weekend my friends, Gregory and Alli, and myself went to experience the cultural phenomenon of St. Patrick’s Day in its place of origin, Dublin. There were no short green men and no pots of gold at the end of a rainbow, unless you downed a few pints of Guinness. However, I did witness a sea of drunken green across the great city.
A few facts before I go on to describe my experience:
1) Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious holiday to celebrate the Patron Saint who brought Christianity to Ireland
2) Saint Patrick was not Irish, but was Welsh
4) The color green is associated with St. Patrick’s Day because of the 3-leaf clover which was used to describe the Holy Trinity to the Pagan King of the time
3) The first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade actually started in the USA
We left the 15th of March on a terrible Ryan Air flight (make sure your carry-on fits the requirements perfectly) that arrived about 30 minutes late. Getting to the city center was a bit pricey (8 euro) but not as expensive as taking a cab ride to out hotel (45 euro). Once we arrived in the city, we could see that the drinking had commenced and people were in a partying mood. We turned in for the night at the Best Western at Shelton Park near Kylemore (great place to stay). The next morning we bought a 7-day tram pass (we were only there for 3 days, but it was only 14 euro–http://www.luas.ie/) and went into city centre exiting at Jarvis. At this point everything was very close, including the shopping mails, pubs, temple bar area, and the river.
We took a free tour with New Dublin Tours (http://www.newdublintours.com/) and had the most wonderful tour guide (best in the business) Robbie. It went over a bit due to the weather, but Robbie gave us the comedic, historical, and cultural view of Dublin. At 4 we ate a quick bite and took the tram to James’s to see the Guinness Storehouse. This was a wonderful way to spend 3 hours learning about the brand, the beer, and the taste (you get to pour your own Guinness which apparently takes 119 seconds to do properly). I highly recommend that you book online because you get to skip lines and you receive a discount (http://www.guinness-storehouse.com). The rest of the night was spent on a pub crawl with New Dublin in the Temple Bar area at a few of the U2 owned clubs and bars.
On the morning of the 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day, Alli and I made our way into town to get festive gear for the parade. Now, as Robbie stated during the tour, the Irish are never on time so the parade,to start at noon, started a bit late. It was well worth it when we saw the costumes, the huge metal structures, and the marching bands (3 were from Texas). After the parade we ate at a place called the Harbourmaster, which had the most delicious Irish smoked salmon (not to mention the cheapest prices in town) I have ever had. We stumbled onto a carnival in front of the Customs House and rode two rides. We figured it was much better than buying beers that night since the bars would be packed, plus I got amazing photos.
That night was a profound experience of enlightenment as it is was much more enjoyable to watch everyone else be intoxicated, rather than be intoxicated. People were drinking on the streets and cops were pouring out their drinks. Hundreds of people were chanting different things in different languages. Some of the world’s tallest men were dressed as leprechauns and the color green was seen on every single person.