St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin*
* Yes I know St Patty’s Day is Tuesday and I left Monday but I have class and school occasionally that I need to attend sometimes once in a while.
It’s a rite of passage.
St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just a single day here. Oh no it isn’t. It’s a state of mind. It’s a sense of being. There are no arbitrary temporal boundaries like the change of a date that’s going to stop people from celebrating their cultural heritage. What cultural heritage you ask? Who is St Patrick and what’s the holiday about? I still have no idea.
St. Patrick’s Day Weekend Festival
When I think of festivals back home, I think of moon bounces, street markets, corporate advertising, and speeches. Maybe a music festival and all that jazz. But here there’s no organized activity. At least not that I saw. It’s kind of just a free-for-all. I loved it. Everything was decked out in green in the center of Dublin – lights, banners, me, even the traffic lights were green half the time.
St Patrick’s Day in Ireland pretty much goes on forever – like watching baseball on television or waiting for the economy to recover or driving through rush hour traffic in LA – so being here for only the weekend didn’t mean we were missing out.
I dressed up a little bit.
And it made me so POPULAR. Everyone wanted to get a picture with me – so now I have inserted myself into the lives, memories, and photo albums of total strangers from all over the world. The locals would just raise their beer to me and give a silent nod of approval.
As you can imagine, in a booze-filled environment like St Patty’s Day Ireland, there were quite a bunch of funny quotes from strangers.
- “Have I ordered yet?” – A hammered guy, who didn’t remember if he ordered yet, sprawled out in his chair at a restaurant to the waitress
- “I can’t find the pub” – You have to be really smashed to be in the center of Dublin where every other establishment serves alcohol to not be able to find the pub
- “Can I have a picture?” – Everyone wanted to get a picture with yours truly
- “Aaaaaaah” – A weird, high-pitched whine/cry coming from a woman in those carriage bike things in the seconds before she grabbed my hat off the top of my head while she was being biked past. I never saw the hat again and precipitated the purchase of the even bigger hat that I am wearing in all these photos.
- “Where are you guys from?” “The Exit” – A visitor at the Guinness factory who was not having any of small talk with one of the Leo worked at the factory, who was actually really nice and about to travel to America to drive from Seattle to San Diego
While the drinking commenced at about noon for some, not for me. In a group, a bunch of us explored greater Dublin and surrounding eastern Ireland.
Newgrange was an Irish-version of Stonehenge. And I explored the surrounding fields.
The Hill of Tara was more Neolithic stuff.
The Powerscourt Waterfall
Glendalough in Wicklow. On the way we passed Hollywood, which is a far more likely and fitting name than the Hollywood in SoCal.
Guinness factory tour
- The coloure of the sky in Ireland is simply white, not blue.
- I may have had more drinks than hours of sleep while in Dublin
- I didn’t hear Gaelic spoken once even though every sign has both English and Gaelic
It was fancy living on this trip. First off, for the first time in Europe, I got to board the plane without walking outside first. Second, I’ll defer to the Chad Simon, wordsmith, friend, and fellow study abroader, who puts it best:
I was living large in a full-fledged HOTEL. And I don’t want to brag, but this was the kind of hotel outfitted with rooms that have…wait for it…en suite bathrooms! Like, this part split my cranium! I thought, hold up, you’re telling me I don’t have to walk in flip flops five doors down the hall to a detached shower room? And to top it all off, guests were regaled with a FREE breakfast BUFFET (BREAKFAST!)…
Since I am in London for at least a few days every week, I guess it warrants a section even though I spend the days in class, writing papers, and resting.
As a metaphor for the exhaustion of a great weekend of travel, as I was rushing from Heathrow to the Tube, my belt pops off – broken in half. After 4 years of everyday use, even my belt had enough of the travel and is now rendered useless upon return to London.
Last week, I went on a tour of the BBC Broadcasting House. Reading off a prompter is much more difficult than fact checking the content.
I’ve tried to stay away from some of the banalities of what everyone puts on a travel blog. One of those platitudes is the act of hearing all of the different languages on the Tube. As it goes in those posts, you hear dozens of languages free flowing in a global city and it makes them realize just how international their international experience is going to be. Or something like that.
In reality, I’ve found that the Tube is generally pretty silent and maybe you can catch a bit of another language if you are listening intently to a weird level but unless it’s Spanish, French, or German I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what language. In Dublin on the street, you actually could hear people from all over because beer makes them loud.
I missed that you all back home had your spring forward clock change. Now we are closer than ever before!
- 11,797 – Words written on this blog so far
- 11 – UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Westminster, Tower of London, Kew Gardens, Sintra, Tower of Belem, Stonehenge, Bath, Serra de Tramuntana, Sevilla Cathedral and Alcazar, Toledo, Brú na Bóinne)
- 7 – Personal phone numbers that I’ve used as my primary number on study abroad (+44 7598736659 [UK], +44 7404245455 [UK old], +1 310-809-2668 [USA], a +1 (661) number on Skype, +351 915-406-195 [Portugal], +34 602-695-139 [Spain old], +34 611-291-985 [Spain new])
- 6 – Football matches (Crystal Palace x2, West Ham, Tottenham, Sporting Lisbon, Arsenal)
- 6 – Airlines flown (United, British Airways x4, Ryan Air x3, Air New Zealand x2, airberlin, Easy Jet)
- 4 – Essential items forgotten at least once on trip (Earplugs, Razor, Eye mask, Flip flops, headache pills)
- 5 – Countries (UK, Portugal, USA [it counts], Spain, Ireland)