St Patricks Day in Ireland

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The biggest question since I got back has obviously been, “How was St. Patricks Day in Ireland?”  I am not wanting to disappoint anyone, but we discovered that  St Patricks Day in Ireland is celebrated very differently than we celebrate St Particks Day in the United States.

Dublin Temple Bar St Patricks Day in Ireland
The Temple Bar in Dublin is the epicenter of the Dublin St. Patricks Day party…we chose a quieter evening.

We chose to forego spending St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin after seeing that it was going to be nothing more than a frustrating, out of control party with a bunch of foreigners.  We elected to spend the day driving into Northern Ireland and seeing the countryside.

As we drove around Ireland on St Patricks Day, we saw evidence St Patrick’s Day festivities in the form of people attending church services and going to small town parades.

People were showing their Irish pride in many ways, some loud and some subtle.  I saw people with shamrocks pinned to their jackets, and many people wearing green clothing or with hair dyed green for the occasion.  It was a much more low key affair than the big parties that we are used to in the United States.

I always think that it is really a special thing when a country has held onto its ancient cultural heritage as Ireland has.  On St Patricks Day, Ireland showcases the crown jewels of Irish culture; traditional Irish dancing shows and classes, hearty Irish food specialties and Irish music pouring out of just about every pub that you can find.

As the afternoon wound down and turned to evening as we found ourselves in Carlingford, Northern Ireland in the Taaffes Castle Pub for one last pint before driving back to the hotel to sleep before an early flight the next morning.

Whilst standing at an outdoor food vendor awaiting nourishment, I was unceremoniously hit with a flying water bottle that had been tossed by a random drunk person.  As the food vendor helped me to dry off with some paper towels, I had pretty much accepted the fact that that was going to be my authentic St Patricks Day in Ireland experience…until we met the two nice drunk Irishmen at the hamburger stand with us.

I will forever regret not recording the exchange that took place with these guys.  It is one of the funniest things that I have ever heard, and the transcript below pales in comparison to the gut busting, laugh out loud hilarity of the exchange, but I will try to sum it up for you.  By the end, I was laughing so hard I was nearly crying!

So, without further ado, here is my authentic St Patricks Day in Ireland experience, the one that I will carry with me when I think back on that day…:

[When you are trying to imagine how these guys sounded, imagine them sounding like Merry and Pippin from the Lord of the Rings movies, but drunk and slightly vulgar]…

Drunk Guy #1 (the less drunk of the two of them): “So, wheres are yalls from?”
Us: “Minnesota, United States”
Drunk Guys #1: “Oh, I love minnsota, I went to college there at St. Johns.” [small talk about St. Johns and Minnesota…]
Drunk Guy #2 (the more drunk of the two of them): “What have you doon in Ireland so far?”
Us: “Oh, we spent two days in Dublin, drove across to the cliffs of Moher, etc.” [continuing on to more details about our trip]…

Drunk Guy #2 : “Why did you come to Ireland?”
Us: “We had been to England and Scotland and thought that we would give Ireland try. Everyone has been really nice and we have really enjoyed out trip.”

Drunk Guy #2: “”F*#& yeah! That’s how we roll over here (emphatically, in drunken Irish accent)” [Note: You haven’t lived until you have heard a drunken Irish man say “That’s how we roll”.]

Us: “Where should we go next time we come to Ireland?”
Drunk Guy #2: “Oh, head to the North. The Giant’s causeway is one of the seven wonders of the world (no, not really, but its fooking awesome!). Also, the oldest distillery in the world, Bushmils. F%*&@ yeah, you should go up there next time!”

Drunk Guy #1: “We love your accent!” [We found it funny somehow that the drunk Irish guy that that WE had the accent!]
Us: “You think we have an accent the same way that we think that you have an accent?”

{somehow the conversation had diverged into talking about rugby and we all ended up in a group hug with the drunken Irishmen…this part in the middle is a little hazy in my memory, and I wasn’t even drinking at the time.  I think I was laughing too hard…}

Drunk Guy #2: “How long are you here for?”
Us: “We are going home tomorrow.”

Drunk Guy #2: “What are you doing tonight?”
Us: “Ah, we are heading back to the hotel, our flight is pretty early in the morning.”
Drunk Guy #2: “Ah, no, you should stay out and get smashed in the pub for a true St Pattys Day experience!”
Us: “Nah, we have to get up for a 6am flight.  Thanks anyways, though.” [If we did not have the 15 year old with us, I would have been tempted to forego sleep to hang out with the drunk guys more]
Drunk Guy #2: “Ah, no worries about the flight. That’s what we do here in Ireland! Show up drunk at the airport and they will just give you a high five and say ‘Welcome on board!'”

Drunk Guy #2: “So, where did you go today?”
Us: “We drove just a little ways into Norhtern Ireland to the Mountains of Mourne.  We went to that spot by the dam where your car rolls uphill…”
Drunk Guy #2: “Ah, f*%# yeah! That’s where I’m from!  That place where your car rolls uphill is fooking awesome!

Drunk Guy #1: “What d’ja mean the car rolls uphill?”
Drunk Guy #2: “Oh, its fookin awseome!  You park the car and it looks like it is rolling uphill, but it really isn’t.  Its an optical illusion.”

“Next time you’re coming through, stop by my house…no, never mind, my dad’s a prick and he would just tell you to go away, and you would say that I’s told yeas to stop by and he would have told yeh to fook off. I would say to him “Why the hell did ye do that?  They were just stopping for a visit…yeah, my da’s a prick.”

St Patricks Day in Ireland Irish COuntryside
A photo taken while driving around the Ireland countryside

The conversation concluded shortly after this, and I walked to the car feeling like I had fulfilled my mission on St Patricks Day in Ireland.  I doubt that my drunk Irish friends will ever read this, but just in case, thanks so much for giving me my authentic St Patricks Day experience.  My mission was accomplished (but not in the form that I had expected) and we left Ireland the next morning, bound for home.


Have you ever spent St Patricks Day in Ireland?  Where did you spend it?  What are your favorite tips for spending St Patricks Day in Ireland?

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