St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin kind of made me feel like I was back in an all-American high-school. My friends and I planned our Around Europe trip specifically so we could be in Dublin on the day and soak up the culture, festivities, and Guinness. I’m sure someone mentioned to me that all the Dublin-ers shoot out of town so that they can avoid all the tourists but I didn’t remember that fact until it hit me smack in the face.
We woke up early on St. Patrick’s Day for the parade on O’Connell St. and managed to get a good viewing spot up front. We stood out in the cold for a couple hours watching the crowds and the sky hoping that the forecast for rain wouldn’t be true. The good part was that it didn’t rain. The bad part was the parade. I was hoping to hear some Irish music and see Irish dancers but this did not happen. I saw marching bands from Arizona, California, Kentucky, Washington and what seemed one marching band for every American state. The theme of the parade was something weird that caused Cirque du Soleil-like floats and costumes to whiz past us. It was one big blur of hot pinks and oranges and purples and blues but no green. The best part was the group of seven year-old Irish kids standing next to us, swearing and cussing at each other about who would get to stand in the front.
Making our way through the post-parade traffic jam, my friends and I were searching for Irish music and found an outdoor concert in St. Stephen’s Park. Ok, this was actually fun. The musicians and Irish dancers were great and everyone in the crowd was dancing the jig. We danced with complete strangers, one of which liked to pour a jug of sangria down my friend’s throat. Sangria? On St. Patty’s Day? After an hour we realized that most of the crowd was filling up with teenagers who were probably too young to go to the pub which led us to the question of why we were still here with them and not at the pub.
So we went to The Temple Bar in the Temple Bar district and stayed there for the rest of the afternoon and into the night. The pub was packed with mostly Americans but we did make friends with two brothers from Philadelphia and we sat at a table smack dab in the middle of all the chaos that was perfect for people watching. This was the St. Patrick’s Day I envisioned – a pub, Guinness and good people. Except I didn’t envision the couple of American college kids making out to our left. They didn’t exactly have the Hollywood kiss nailed down but it made for an amusing picture that unfortunately didn’t last longer than their kiss.
The Temple Bar more than made up for the earlier part of the day but in the following week as my friends and I drove through Kilkenny, Killarney, Dingle and Doolan I gathered that these places are where the Dublin-ers escaped to during all of the festivities. These small towns seemed to have a lot more Irish heart than a day in Dublin ever could – fresh air, lush green, friendly people and not an American in sight. If I am ever back in Ireland for St. Patty’s Day, I think I’ll escape Dublin too.