17.03.2015 - 17.03.2015
We woke rested and ready to go on St. Patrick's Day, although nothing could have prepared us for what was in store. We had been told by some and read tidbits online that the country gives nothing more than a quick toast in memory of Saint Patrick. Leprechauns and four leaf-clovers were referenced as us "Americanizing" the quiet and humble holiday in Ireland. With that in mind, I'd done my research and knew we were stepping into the 2015 Dublin Festival and there would at least be a parade. We just hadn't really considered who would fill the streets to share in the celebration...
As we walked toward the City Centre in the early morning, a light mist of rain fell and the air was cool, but we were bundled up and warm in our non-green colors. The process started slowly as others joined us from side streets and we walked toward the parade route together. It didn't take but a moment to figure out. If by "quiet and humble holiday" we were talking about 500,000+ people dressed like "crazy Americans" - this was it! There were people of every color, age, shape, and size, and languages of every sorts could be heard throughout the streets. Best of all? GREEN! Everyone, everywhere was prepared - even the city buildings, signs, and lights were green! People had four-leaf clovers tattooed all over their faces and bodies. Men and women alike were dressed as leprechauns, including full beards and green suits! The Irish flag was worn every way imaginable, including via wig, eyelashes, and strapped on as a cape. "Kiss me, I'm Irish" could be found somewhere on about every other person (Irish or not!) and glitter glasses shaped like clovers or beer were a common accessory.
As we scoured the side of the crowded streets looking for a spot, I told myself I'd be fine dying in an Irish stampede in order to get my family a spot in the front row. We were fortunate enough to find a place just behind a sweet little old couple that wasn't much taller than Beau, so it worked out perfectly! Before the parade started, the little grandma had taken Jaden in front of her and given him the front row space anyhow! Admittedly, I became slightly territorial over the folks in front of us as the tears poured down the cheeks of her friend when the bagpipes came by and the crowd roared while a group of drunken American college kids tried to stomp all over them while laughing about Snapchat and wondering if Ireland had a North Dakota in it (as a marching band from North Dakota strolled by). Oh goodness.
The parade itself was a couple of hours worth of excitement, but the serious fun came afterwards when the mobs hit the street and we found ourselves amidst a river of green drunken chaos. Depending on where you were at in the mob, your portion could be dancing, singing, fighting, or being the true definition of one in a million. The weather had cleared up nicely and so our afternoon was spent going with the flow. The kids saw many "what not to dos" - particularly the young kids that were drunk and having a difficult time walking and speaking (or NOT speaking loudly and inappropriately to police officers!). We drifted into the Temple Bar area and there were so many people that we could barely breath while walking through. We made our way into a pub called O'Neil's on Suffix Street, that had been recommended to us by our cabbie driver and managed to snag a little table, some great food, a couple Guinnesses and a toast to chasing dreams on our Bucket List!