St Patrick’s 2013: The day that everybody is Irish!
St Patrick’s Day in Dublin is an interesting experience that has evolved significantly since the 17th century. The holiday’s purpose of the day is historically a Christian feast day. There isn’t much known about the life of St Patrick other than he may or may not have driven snakes out of Ireland, and that he supposedly used shamrocks to teach the Holy Trinity. However, those details don’t usually make for stimulating pub conversation, as St Patrick’s day, whatever the origin, has evolved into an overall celebration of Irish people and culture.
Rarely can you find yourself walking the streets of any city and hear conversations in English, Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese, German, and a variety of other far-reaching dialects that you cant quite place. This scene is only made more unique by the fact that the international masses that flock to Dublin are all decked out in silly green top hats, face paint, and various installations of the Irish flag.
It really gives new meaning to the saying that “everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day”. Unsurprisingly, the morning of St Patrick’s Day is like any other. The streets are fairly empty, coffee shops have the normal amount of patrons, and the weather is likely a mixture of rain, sunshine, and sideways icy hail!
However, around 10.30am all of that normalcy begins to change. The city shuts down (you absolutely cannot get to the city center by car, cab, or even by bicycle). You need to grab an umbrella, your dorky American rain boots, and walk towards the festivities the old fashion way. As you walk to the center you quickly realise that you are no longer a singular anonymous foreigner, but you are one of many of the thousands who flock to the Emerald Isle every March for these Guinness-induced festivities. Beware that you will not get anywhere quickly around the City Center or Temple Bar. I do not say this to discourage you from partaking in the party, but to be aware that the city is completely transformed into a green blob of questionably sober tourists, and a few Irish participants.
That being said, the parade is something to see if you are the kind of person who gets excited about parades. If you are not a parade person, do not fret; the people watching on O’Connell Street is top notch. And, after standing outside in the famous Irish weather, there are plenty of cafés, restaurants, and pubs full of food and beverages of your choice and enough body heat to warm you up in no time. The traditional music sessions are phenomenal on St Patrick’s Day (I personally recommend Peadar Kearney’s on Dame Street) and the pubs are full of people from all over the world who came to the island to have some good ‘craic’. People are ridiculously friendly and welcoming to everyone who is up for a good time and a friendly celebration of Irish culture.
If the luck of the Irish brings you enough good fortune to be in Dublin on St Patrick’s Day, be sure to soak up the experience. (Let it be noted that you might literally be soaked if you are not dressed appropriately for the occasion). And after a night of pub-hopping, heavy Irish stews, and sad attempts at Irish dancing, you can always recuperate yourself with some more body-friendly cuisine and curl up on a couch somewhere and watch the rain Ireland is so notorious for. This holiday of cultural celebration brings a sense of solidarity and unity among people from all over the world. It is something I have thoroughly enjoyed checking off my bucket list and I was proud to be Irish on St Patrick’s Day.