Regardless of our ethnic heritage, Americans seem to embrace the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. You may choose to celebrate with the wearing o’ the green or with the drinking ‘o the green beer at a local establishment. Two of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the world actually take place right here in the United States in the cities of New York and Chicago. A large number of people in this country do have Irish heritage due to the millions who immigrated here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. While we do have some amazing events taking place here in the U.S., there is no better place to celebrate than in the country that made St. Patrick its patron saint, Ireland.
Dublin, Ireland’s capital is teeming with energy and entertainment on any given day, but on March 17 it explodes with excitement. Much of the activity centers on the annual parade. People arrive several hours prior to its start to stake out a prime location along the parade’s route. Experienced parade attendees arrive equipped with chairs and even step stools for the children or perhaps for themselves to stand on for a better view. Some climb high into the trees, while others perch themselves on top of statues that line the route. As the crowd grows it becomes as much as 15 or 20 people deep. But don’t worry if you fail to secure that coveted curbside vantage point, a large part of the entertainment value is in just observing the people all around you. They come dressed as leprechauns with full attire or wearing wild wigs in green and orange, representing the colors of the flag. Some don hats of all description, bizarre sunglasses or even face paint, the crazier the better. For a small donation to charity a young lad or lass will paint a small shamrock on your cheek, so that you may feel like a local participant, it’s all part of the fun.
After the parade make your way to Temple Bar. This is the area of town most well-known for the proliferation of pubs with great food, drink and of most notably, live entertainment. These pubs are so popular the crowds will often spill out into the street, but for good reason. The traditional Irish music, or “trad,” scene here is alive and well and a wonderful experience any time of the year. The music usually starts between 5:00 and 7:00 PM and continues until the wee hours of the morning. If you choose a pub outside of Temple Bar, you may find an Irish session taking place. A session means that there is not a particular band scheduled to appear, but a rag-tag group of locals assembles one by one with instruments in tow, ready to entertain pub patrons. It’s very interactive and the crowd is often invited to join in. Although, you won’t find any green beer, there will be pints of Guinness galore. So raise your glass and offer a toast to St. Patrick and the luck o’ the Irish you experienced on his special day in Dublin!