Spending that special day in Dublin was my dream for a pretty long time. However, I did not wait too long to actually make it happen. It was freezing, it was crazy but it was worth it! Have you ever wondered what it’s like?
There’s so many events you should see in your life- 4th of July in the USA, Carnival in Rio, Oktoberfest in Germany. One of those amazing places, where there’s the festive atmosphere, dancing, drinking etc. So far I’ve seen Día de la Independencia in Mexico, La Merce in Barcelona and the already mentioned 4th of July in the States. It’s always a beautiful thing to see how the locals celebrate, eat special food served only on that day, dance, show off their rich culture, beautiful outfits etc. This time around I want to see the holiday celebrated in all of the United States, Great Britain, Russia and in Ireland too- so basically half of the world. Interesting fact is that St. Patrick’s Day was, for the longest time, more popular in the northern America than in Ireland itself. Until the late 20th century, St Patrick’s Day was often a bigger celebration among the Irish diaspora across the world than it was in Ireland. It makes sense, because we all know Americans love to have fun, party and celebrate stuff!
What to expect?
So, as you probably know Irish people love beer, especially the Guinness brand. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that they will do a lot of drinking during St.Patrick’s Day. But what else is there going on? As every proper celebration, there has to be a huge parade going through the city. The patron saint of Ireland died on that day so we remember him and his famous shamrock. Legend has it, he used the three-leaved plant (clover) to explain the Irish pagans the mystery of the Holy Trinity- when 3 Gods come as One- just like the leaves of shamrock are connected, but separate. Green color plays a very important role during the celebration because of it. Except for the parade of leprechauns and people dressed up all in green you can also experience the Irish culture. There’s lots of traditional Irish music sessions, called céilithe. And obviously, where there’s music, there’s dancing as well! And since we talk about Irish celebration, there has to be the language involved too. The week when we have St. Patrick’s Day is also called the Irish Language Week. So more people try to make the effort of speaking Irish language (which is not really like old-English but more like Celtic languages, so it sounds nothing like English). I think it’s pretty cool- bringing the language back to life is certainly a beautiful thing.
Go green or go home!
And last, but not least- during St. Patrick’s Day a lot of special monuments, important buildings etc are lit up in green- that must look legendary! In the States they always go big, so even the rivers in the biggest cities are colored green (Chicago, NYC) and also the fountain in front of the White House in DC is green. WOW! The beer you drink on that day is green as well, so it’s only good manners to dress up in green costume for that special occasion- out of respect. Some costumes are really funny, except for the classic leprechauns you can drees up as the Saint himself. I know I’m gonna dress up for sure!
Guinness World Record!
During that day, almost all places are closed for business. So even if you would like to go to a museum, library or something like that- well, good luck with that. All that’s left to do is pub crawling. You just can’t run away from it, and honestly- why would you?! Guinness is probably the most delicious beer ever. So, just enjoy it, celebrate with the locals, have a beer or three and don’t forget to wear a lot of green!
So how was my experience? I have waited 3 hours in a crowd to see the Parade in Dublin. A man who works as a volunteer on every single parade said he cannot remember a colder parade than this one (2018) and he was well over 60 yo! It was snowing in the middle of March, which almost never happens in Ireland! We have seen the Irish symbol brought especially from the Parliament, the Saint Patrick himself (haters gonna say it was just some random guy dressed up as St. Patrick) and also have been drinking from 9 AM. Well, it was only the Irish coffee so it doesn’t really count as drinking. That happened later on, after a hearty meal of Shepherd’s Pie and a long struggle to unfreeze our feet. Wonderful thing that happened during the parade was coming together of people from different parts of the world- there were Canadians, Americans, people from the Philippines and Saudi Arabia right there with us- laughing and talking with everyone around. You can also do some pinching in the crowd- anyone who is not wearing something green on that day is supposed to be pinched! LOL At the end of the day I think I have drunk around 6 beers and no- I did not have a green beer! That is too touristy and you won’t find it in any respectful, Irish pub. Also, you will get strange looks even for asking about it!