I didn’t know how big of a deal St. Patrick’s day was in the United States before moving to Dublin. Perhaps I was generally aware, or it’s not as celebrated on the west coast, or I was spending last year’s prepping to fly to Nepal to begin my summer in Asia and was more concerned about not forgetting something to notice the day. In any case, I vaguely knew that people in the US regard this holiday with quite a bit of enthusiasm and dedication. Or what’s more, that spending the day in Dublin is on many bucket lists. So, I was curious what it would be like here. I had heard stories of absurd debauchery and was mildly concerned about dealing with a city full of drunken tourists-I had also heard most Irish people stay locked in or flee the city. Regardless, it would be interesting.
So, what happened? Not a lot. There were tons of carnivals and festivals and more American accents than I’ve heard in a long time. The streets were crowded, despite the rain, and it was generally, always loud, and never without excellent people watching. The problem was, we didn’t really notice what was happening on the ground post-parade. First, we live south of city center where the noise that kept friends up most of Saturday night was blissfully non-existent. Then, we spent all of Sunday (and I mean entire-12+ hours) at our friend’s apartment that looks out over the parade route. I was beyond thankful to be inside though, it was sleeting outside at one point, and seemed pretty miserable. Apparently, that happens a lot. I mean, it is Ireland. If it was anything like Arthur’s Day, there were long queues for everything, a lot of yelling and trash in the streets. Not really my idea of a good time. Though, the kids carnivals did seem like fun-if you were seven. Those tacky souvenir shops must make more this weekend than likely the whole year combined. We had a pretty fantastic day though. Almost entirely for the same reasons that make any holiday a good. We spent time with good friends, new and old, ate good food, and generally just enjoyed all being together. I don’t really get the big deal, and would agree this might be one to strike off your bucket list, from what I could tell from friends back home it might be a bigger deal in Chicago than Dublin. Given the amount of Americans here this weekend, it seemed very much like home anyway (with a far more expensive plane ticket). I’m not sure what we’ll do next year, but if it’s anything like this year, I could definitely see celebrating again. Out of the rain.