St. Patrick’s Day: one of my favorite holidays. Growing up as someone with Irish ancestry and coming from a town with a recognizably large Irish population, it’s only natural that I would love this holiday. I normally enjoy spending St. Paddy’s at home because the Philly area really knows how to celebrate it, but since I am away from home this year, I figured spending this holiday in Dublin was a pretty good alternative (to say the least). And let’s be real, when else in my lifetime will I be able to celebrate St. Paddy’s in IRELAND?!
To be honest, I was a little reluctant to agree to this trip (for some reason which is beyond me). My friend Maury had made plans to go very early on and in November she told my friends Brittani, Kristen, and I to come along. I wasn’t sure because I already had plans to travel to Ireland with my parents in April and I didn’t see any sense going twice within a one-month period. Also, it required taking off a day of work. But the only thing Maury had to do was say, “When else in your life can you celebrate St. Paddy’s in Dublin?!” That was the deciding factor for me since I tend to live a “You Only Live Once” type of lifestyle (as corny and overused as that phrase is). After that, we all booked our plane tickets and it actually turned out that I was given off work on St. Paddy’s so it all worked out perfectly!
This trip was one of my favorites so far this year for many reasons. For starters, I have always loved being part-Irish and Ireland has always been a top place that I’ve wanted to travel to. When we stepped out of the airport, I couldn’t believe that I was actually in Ireland!! The airport was decorated with Irish-themed balloons, everyone was dressed in green walking the streets, and even the buildings in the city (such as Trinity College) were lit up in green lights. I was in St. Paddy’s Day heaven! It was also very exciting being in my first English speaking country in 6 and a half months! As much as I love experiencing different cultures and languages, it’s always nice being surrounded by something familiar. Not only that, but English/American products were everywhere too. Again, I was in HEAVEN. I made sure to load up on a few Cadbury Eggs before coming back to Spain 🙂
Our departure flight from Madrid was delayed and we ended up landing in Dublin pretty late (maybe around midnight). Not only that, but it was also a PAIN to try to get into the center. The airport buses were hardly running and the line for a taxi was huge. After walking back and forth trying to figure out what would be the best option, we settled on taking a taxi. By the time we got to our hostel we went straight to bed because we needed to get up early the next day to check out because we could only reserve one night at that hostel by the time we booked it. We also wanted to start our day and take full advantage of our time there.
Saturday was such a fun day. Maury, Brittani, and I started early and went to our first Irish pub in the Temple Bar area. Afterwards we went shopping for festive St. Paddy’s Day accessories and even got Shamrock Shakes from McDonald’s! I freaked out when we passed the sign advertising them because I had no idea they would be sold over here in Europe! Shamrock Shakes are always an exciting part of the St. Patrick’s season back home so I was ecstatic when I got one in Ireland. After that, we hit up another pub which was a ton of fun. We ordered our first Guinness’! Many people don’t like the taste of Guinness but I really don’t mind it. It wasn’t the first one I’ve ever had, but it definitely tastes better in Ireland. I ordered them all weekend because they were always the cheapest drink option in all of the pubs.
For me, the best moment of the weekend happened in the pub where we had our first Guinness’. In case you didn’t already know this about me, I have an unhealthy love for chick flicks. Well, P.S. I Love You is one of my favorite chick flicks. For those of you who have not seen it, it’s about an American girl (Hilary Swank) and her Irish husband (Gerard Butler) who had just recently passed away. Throughout the movie, they show flashbacks from their 10-year relationship. They originally met in Ireland when Hilary Swank was on a college trip. My favorite scene from the movie is when they are both in a pub and Gerard Butler performs the song “Galway Girl.” Anyways, naturally being a chick flick lover means that I want to recreate my life into a chick flick, which would explain why I freaked out when I was sitting in a pub, in Ireland, sipping on a Guinness, and suddenly I heard the musician start to play “Galway Girl” (just like in the movie!!). After I shrieked, I ran downstairs with my camera in hand and watched the performance with a huge smile on my face the whole time. Unfortunately the singer wasn’t anything like Gerard Butler and we didn’t fall madly in love afterwards, but that experience was definitely sufficient enough to fulfill my Ireland chickflick-esque dreams. Here’s the performance!:
The other really exciting part of this trip was that I was reunited with my friend from college, Liz!! Liz is completing her masters in Dublin for the school year and was gracious enough to let me stay with her for the rest of my long weekend. Getting to spend St. Paddy’s Day weekend in Dublin as well as getting to spend time with Liz was like getting two amazing things for the price of one!
On Sunday we went to the Guinness Storehouse which was awesome. They had a special St. Patrick’s thing going on (which actually wasn’t too different from their normal events except that I bought a special Guinness St. Paddy’s shirt from the gift shop). There were live performances going on in different rooms and of course the second I walked into the first room the band was playing “Galway Girl”! FATE I TELL YA. We also took the 10-minute Guinness Pint Pouring Class and we all got our special Guinness certificates afterwards.
Monday was actual St. Paddy’s Day which meant going to the center to see the parade down O’Connell Street. The parade was just OK, nothing too spectacular, but it was still very nice. And again, just the fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day and I was in Dublin witnessing their parade made it that much better. Before the parade was over, my friends sadly had to leave to head back to Madrid because they were already missing a day of school to be in Dublin. Lucky for me, my students were taking exams so I was given off a few days from work and therefore could stay a little longer. After walking around the city for a bit after the parade, I met up with Liz and her friends and spent the rest of the day with them.
St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Dublin was just as amazing as it sounds. So amazing that I’m a little sad that future St. Paddy’s Days just might not be able to compare. It was a legitimate Irish explosion (which is to be expected since we were in, ya know, Ireland). But apparently this mayhem is only a recent phenomena. According to my cab driver one day, since Ireland is a very Catholic country, St. Patrick’s Day used to be very tranquil and solely a religious holiday. Now, thanks to an influx of travelers and foreigners (probably 90% being Americans looking to party), it’s become very commercialized which my cab driver said was great for Ireland’s tourism. Either way, I’m thrilled I got to spend this fun holiday in its home country. I ended this great weekend with some Irish coffee and Bailey’s Cheesecake– Mmm! A perfect ending to an incredible weekend 🙂