Wednesday, March 25, 2009

St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

Last weekend, I spent the weekend before St. Patrick's Day in Dublin-an Irish girl in a college kid's dream.

But it wasn't what I thought.

On my first night, I went to Temple Bar, a notorious breeding ground for booze-hungry tourists. We elbowed our way through college boys wearing Virginia t-shirts and drunk girls swaying to "Oh Danny Boy."

After ordering Guinesses, my friends and I met two friendly Irishmen who bought us another round and danced a jig with us to Van Morrison. So far so good.

But then, one of the Irishmen said, "Why did you come here? Don't spend your time in pubs."

What? This is Ireland! This is St. Patrick's Day weekend!

He explained he wanted me to see Ireland's history and not think of the Irish as drunkards.

And after that weekend, I don't.

Surveying the streets at 3 a.m., I saw huddled Spanish kids chanting and clapping, a U.S. girls' sports team booty-shaking to bongo drums and our American group singing S Club 7 songs.

Live band in Temple Bar

I saw drunk Chicagoans with shamrock tattoos stumbling around the streets demanding Subway and two Spanish men wearing wife beaters that said "Kiss Me, I'm Maybe Irish."

The Irish do go out, but Americans and other nationalities far outnumbered them this weekend.

In Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a day of holy obligation and usually celebrated as a religious holiday-not like it is in the states.

Two years ago, I went to Savanna, Ga., for the world's largest St. Patrick's Day parade. In between kids clamoring for beads from floats and tripping over beers cans, a sea of green shirts poured out of every bar like a fresh Guiness tap. It was impossible to even enter a bar.

And back in Milwaukee, our college bar, Murphy's, opened at 6 a.m.

"I'm gonna open and close Murphy's!" one friend said.

What did you do this St. Patrick's Day? Was it filled with green beer bongs and 7 a.m. bar call times? Did it seem crazier than Dublin?

And one more thing-don't order Irish Car Bombs in Ireland.

No comments: