Um, so. Whatâ€™s happening, blogland? Iâ€™m sitting in a shitty hotel room in the middle of Dungarvan, in County Waterford. The past week has beenâ€¦nuts. I met the Irish president, rode a bus through the St. Paddyâ€™s Day parade in Dublin, stayed overnight in the Burlington Wing of Lismore Castle (with the whole place to myself), and was interviewed by newspapers and radio stations about my ancestry search.
More on all that later. For now â€“ because Iâ€™ll probably pass out in about five minutes â€“ Iâ€™m sharing a few highlights from St. Patrickâ€™s Day in Dublin.
First up: there was snow. Lots of it. The entire media group was outright depressed over the weather, and hearing a policeman say, â€œthis hasnâ€™t happened in 17 years!â€ didnâ€™t make things any better. But we also didnâ€™t know that we were going to be actually PARTICIPATING in the paradeâ€¦on an open-top bus.
Yes, I rode on a bus through thousands upon thousands of people all celebrating St. Patrickâ€¦a massive sea of green and orange. I waved my hand and pretended I was an Irish princess. Sometimes people blew me kisses. Occasionally, the bus would stop and someone would find a lull in the cheering to shout, â€œWho ARE you guys?!â€ Two young lads try to throw bottles of orange juice at us. (You can see a video here.)
At the end of the route, we boarded a stationary bus to watch the rest of the parade. It wasâ€¦probably the most bizarre parade Iâ€™ve ever witnessed. Iâ€™m not sure if I just wasnâ€™t getting ANY of the Irish pop culture references, but the whole thing was like Mardi Gras on steroids. There were giant monkeys dancing around, huge pieces of clothing, monsters strutting around in monster fashion, and the occasional pirate sailing by on his ship.
When it was all over, we had our first pint of Guinness and some food before heading out to take photos of the crowds in Temple Bar. The place was a goddamned mess. We literally could not even fight our way through the crowds, so we stood back and took photos. Fortunately everyone was drunk enough to willingly pose for us. At some point an old man walked by with a wicked lean on, barely able to stand upright. Other people were humping in the streets. Girls were making out in alleyways and dudes were pissing in doorframes.
It. Was. NUTS.
Fortunately we had scored media passes to the celebrations at the Guinness Storehouse, where things wereâ€¦kinda tamer. There was a silent disco, some live music, and a station for pouring your own pint. BUT you canâ€™t really turn down a Guinness in the Gravity Bar on St. Patrickâ€™s Day, so we stole a table from some youngsters and got busy. Things kinda escalated at that point.
My last clear memory is sucking down wine at a fancy restaurant away from the sheer debauchery going on in the streets of Dublin. Eventually myself and a few others from the media crew found ourselves in a hotel bar that was CRAMMED with party-goers. I think I crawled into bed at 4 AM.
Dublin, you win this time.