We successfully celebrated St. Paddy’s Day in Dublin! It was a TON of fun thanks to a bunch of really fantastic people we met in Galway and met up with again in Dublin since we were all in Ireland for the big celebration! However, coming from Wisconsin has made me a little unimpressed with the level of “craziness” of these types of celebrations. If any of you have been to Halloween or Mifflin Street Block Party in Madison, WI (circa 2001-2005) or Oktoberfest in La Crosse, WI (ever), you’ve seen it before. It was similar to these celebrations for me because the pubs were pretty packed (though we found a few that were actually able to sit in) and everyone took to the streets with beers in hand. And like any good drinking celebration the drinks started flowing early in the day and way into the night. That being said, it definitely was good craic (especially with good company) and there were a few things that were unexpected about the way they celebrate here.
The celebration leading up to St. Patrick’s Day started on March 14 and went through March 17th. We arrived on the 16th and so only had a few days of celebrating. There were events throughout the weekend that could be found on the festival website. We didn’t end up catching many of the festival events, but instead chose to spend time with our new friends and enjoyed a lot of variations of the song The Galway Girl. On repeat. March 16 through March 17. Here is the traditional version by Steve Earle and Sharon Shannon if you’re not familiar. It’s a must-listen-to to properly celebrate.
We heard from locals that the big night out for locals is usually March 16th since March 17th is a national holiday and everyone is off of school and work on March 17th. We found that although that is probably true for locals since March 16th was definitely lively, there are definitely enough tourists in Dublin to make March 17th just as busy and jovial.
We went to the parade on March 17th, which started at 12:00 PM. One of the things that was interesting was that none of the establishments or liquor stores sold alcohol the morning of the parade. This was probably a good thing because beginning serving after noon was definitely enough time for people to get their drinking in, and it made it a more family-friendly event than it may have been had the drinking started earlier. The parade was really busy and it was kind of difficult to see if you are not 6 feet tall, but most of the floats were pretty tall so it was still really enjoyable even if you were a few people back from the edge of the parade curb.
We also went to a couple of bars next to Temple Bar, which is the most famous bar area for tourists. We stayed outside of Temple Bar directly since we went in one bar and it was so crowded we could not even stay together as a group. We decided to go one block off of the Temple Bar area and the further away from Temple Bar we were (even just a few blocks), the less busy the pubs were and the more enjoyable the atmosphere. There was really good live music playing all over different pubs in the city. They played a little bit of traditional music, but also covered a lot of popular “bar” songs, which was fun to dance along with.
Overall, if big crowded parties are your scene, then Dublin for St. Paddy’s is definitely something you wouldn’t want to miss!