I know I don’t, but luckily, you don’t need to for St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland.
From the looks of it, he must’ve been an outspoken supporter of dressing up like a leprechaun and getting drunk in public.
No wonder he was sainted.
I watched a movie on Ireland years ago, long before I ever came to Ireland the first time and I remember it showed St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland as a day where most locals went to church and got the day off work.
I can assure you that is no longer the case. I was in Dublin but there were parades and parties across the country. I’m sure pubs from coast to coast were overrun.
Is it possible that St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland has been “Americanized” since then? It’s turned into the all-day drunk fest it’s known for back home, even more so. What’s even better is the Irish get the day off work! Since St. Patty’s Day fell on a Saturday this year, they all get Monday off which means the festivities can continue for three days!
First things first, I didn’t come to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day. I came to Ireland and it just happened to be St. Patrick’s Day. But I have managed to roll with the circumstances surprisingly well.
I am a survivor.
When in Ireland, do as the Irish do.
Dublin is a crazy city to be in during St Patty’s. I think it most closely could resemble something like Bourbon Street in New Orleans on Mardi Gras or New York during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s absolute mayhem.
Or shall I say shenanigans?
I went out for a look around the city last night before the festivities began but they were already in full swing. The bars were packed and music played through the streets. Those who started early were already stumbling home.
If you are going to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, here are some tips to survive the experience and not throw up on your shoes or worse, be like the guys in my hostel…
Back in my hostel, boys at breakfast this morning were telling absolutely horrifying stories about one guy who mistook the closet for a toilet.
I booked all girls room this time. Seems I made the right choice. Women have an innate ability to distinguish closets from toilets, even when under the influence.
Despite that start to the day, the morning was fairly quiet except for parade set-up. The interesting thing to me, is that there is still a level of respect for St. Patrick here. The parade starts at 12:00 and the bars don’t serve before then so the kids can enjoy the parade and those who do go to church can have a peaceful morning. It’s a bit more balanced.
So much for Irish coffee…
It’s probably wise to hold off for the morning hours.
After the parade though, all bets are off. The city, especially Temple Street, turns into an international melting pot of drunkness. There’s free-flowing beer and non-stop singing. Everyone is elbowing one another in the street and stepping on your toes but it’s all good-natured. You make friends with Albanians, Brazillians and Italians within the scope of five minutes.
If you don’t like crowds, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is not the place to be. It will give you an anxiety attack that will last until Christmas.
As the crowds move slowly through the unending foot traffic you see the mass of humanity at it’s most friendly and then it slowly morphs into it’s most sloppy.
It’s a big mess and it’s an incredible experience at the same time.
That being said, as a visitor and as a girl traveling alone, there a few considerations that are completely necessary when engaging in what most closely resembles a mosh pit of green beer.
First off, key to a good time is meeting a few people at your hostel and going out together. Safety in numbers and the more the merrier and all that sort of thing.
Second, here’s a trick that will improve your good time ten-fold, just be prepared to get yelled at a lot… Wear a hat with your home state on it. It’s an instant conversation starter. Also, in my case, be prepared to be called “MONTANA!” all day.
Now, for the serious side, watch yourself and your stuff. There are pickpockets and weirdos wherever you go. I didn’t know anyone in this city so the people I went out with were new friends from the hostel. It was awesome, but stll, you can’t depend on others to have your back when there is alcoholic ice-cream being served so I needed to approach this with some common sense.
There’s a key to having a good time and maintaining some semblance of sanity. First, have a few drinks early in the day and make friends with everyone within a 10 foot radius. This turns out to be a lot of people. Then, when you get tired of the crowds, go home and nap. If you don’t, the crowds will eventually exhaust you and you’ll end up going home or getting too tipsy and miss the good nighttime music.
You want to avoid the long hours of the early evening because that’s when it gets messy. All the early day drinkers are getting sick and their friends are getting tired of them. The carnage is unbelievable. Couples start bickering. Poorly behaved drunks are abandoned by their comrades. It gets a little sloppy and frayed around the edges.
Nap then get up and get some steak and Guinness pie and find a corner pub outside the tourist streets. This way, you can get a bit of a real Irish experience and sing with locals who can hold their liquor until your voice is too hoarse to continue. You will hear poetry, jokes and real Irish songs from a crowd that probably knows who St. Patrick was and what he was all about. Then walk home, knowing in full confidence you have managed to maintain your dignity to know the difference between a closet and a toilet.
Make America proud!
I don’t know St. Patrick, but I’m sure he would’ve wanted it that way.