Hello again readers,
And welcome to my very first non business-related article (at least that’s the plan). This one is all about the St. Patrick’s day celebration that is just a few days away. And if you’re from the greater Dublin area, you know that it’s never St. Patrick’s day without the following:
- The numerous parades around the city right from Dame street, through to Trinity College, O’Connell Street and further up the Mountjoy area.
- The usual fun fair down at Custom House Quay towards the IFSC and Merrion Square.
- The fact that you’re less likely to run into an actual Irish person watching the parades. This is because the vast majority of super-excited (usually intoxicated) parade watchers are foreign nationals like me looking to savour their first taste of the St. Patrick’s day experience. (P.S. This one will be my 8th so yeah, I’m very close to saturation).
- Green, orange, and more green… everywhere!! And everyone wearing very original t-shirts saying, ‘Kiss Me, I’m Irish!’
- The fact that the entire River Liffey and the surrounding Irish Sea are both dyed green all week… okay that is actually not true :).
But hey, if that makes you wonder how Chicago dyes their river green every year, well…
Okay, we now know a little about what to expect on a typical St. Patrick’s day celebration in Dublin, let us now move on to the important stuff.
WHAT IS ST. PATRICK’S DAY ABOUT?
For the first time in a long time, I decided to do a bit of reading online about this world famous holiday. It is a well known fact that St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. And as per Wikipedia, ‘ the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick…The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.’
So yeah, given my own personal experience celebrating St. Patrick’s day, I can say beyond reasonable doubt that the general context of the celebrations are mostly anything but religious. But on the cultural spectrum, the festivities, parades and late parties more than deliver. Granted, devout christians attend mass on this day but I will not go into the actual number of people that generally do. And that is in comparison to the number of people that go out to enjoy the festivities.
OUTSTANDING CULTURAL ASPECTS TO EXPECT ON PADDY’S DAY.
- Pub Culture: is very very important to Irish Culture. Understandably, the global perception of Irish pub culture has been perverted and has been greatly linked to alcohol misuse. (And sometimes, for very good reason). But pub culture in Ireland is more than just about drinking. It is about meeting neighbours, friends and in my experience, meeting people from all around the world – usually over a pint of Guinness of course. Not that it matters to you but I prefer Carlsberg. Dublin in particular, is teeming with bustling pubs in and around the city (especially in the Temple Bar area) – and on a day like St Patrick’s, there is never any shortage of venues to experience both the best and worst bits of Irish pub culture.
- Irish Music and Dancing: A huge attraction for tourists in the pubs or even at the parades is traditional Irish music and dance. Older and more traditional pubs are most likely to provide live Irish music and/or dance. The noise levels and atmosphere in such pubs usually allow for much easier conversation. Many modern pubs in Dublin, opt for loud music instead, and focus more on the consumption of drinks, which is not a focus of traditional Irish culture. But you have to applaud the ingenuity of these modern pubs in successfully creating an atmosphere that is neither pub nor nightclub. In essence, they are pubs with a designated dancefloor – and for me, have now become a personal substitute for nightclubs.
- Food: Okay, Ireland is known across the globe for its greenery and its good-natured people, not its food. Personally, most dishes are not great and not very innovative. Which explains why only local pubs would have traditional Irish dishes on their menus. Established restaurants here prefer to serve food from all other areas of the globe, except Ireland and England. Despite that, a good pie can hit the spot every once in a while. But what Ireland does ridiculously well for me is a mean breakfast. So yeah, I’ll leave you with a photo of what a full Irish Breakfast looks like. Now dig in!
- Folklore, Religion, Literature and Art: Irish Folklore is littered with many folk legends, the most famous of them being the Leprechaun. As a result, a large majority of donned attires on the day are usually inspired by this ancient mischievous character and the Patron Saint Patrick himself. Celebrated authors W.B. Yeats, Bernard Shaw, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde are also commemorated on this day. Loyal fans especially love to take photos of/with James’s statue on Earl St. North or Oscar Wilde’s famous relaxed monument at Merrion Square. Museums and galleries all around the city also display typically Irish visual art such as paintings and Celtic brooches.
Finally, we’ve come to the end of this article :). I guess I’ve pretty much summarized what to expect and enjoy in order to celebrate Irish Culture fully. If you have any other pointers I may have missed out, please do leave a comment in the comments section. Any other opinions about the article are very much welcome. And given that St Patrick’s Day this year falls on a Friday, we are guaranteed an entire weekend of festivities and chaos. So on this note, I wish all my readers a very happy St. Patrick’s day in advance.
And most importantly – Drink Responsibly!!