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Published: April 8th 2011
St. Patricks Day should be spent sporting the most green one can find, drinking beer and making new friends. Since I am living in Europe, I thought why don't I celebrate this glorious holiday in the land of its origin- IRELAND!
Arriving in the Dublin airport, I was surprised to find Gaelic written on all signs, underneath the English phrases. I didn't realize that the language was still so widely spoken. After speaking to an Irishman on the plane, I found out that 20% of the Irish population still speaks Gaelic, with most popularity in the south-western area of the island. Talking to more locals and asking them about it, it really varied. One person would look at me crazy if I asked if they could speak Gaelic and then the next person would be like, "Of course I can, duh!" So who knows...
I rode a two-story bus into the city center (as all of the buses are double-decker) and was greeted by a a quaint little city, quite remenescent of what I'd anticipated. The residential area was filled with mostly townhouses, all with doors of various colors. Everything looked a little old and run-down, but with character.
The streets were packed with people, everyone decorated in their green and shamrocks. There were all kinds of people- children, elderly, rich, poor, black, white, purple, polka-dotted-you name it, they were there! It seemed as though everyone had come out of the woodwork to celebrate this crazy day full of green and leprechauns. There were A LOT of tourists, many Europeans, but many people from all over the world as well. I couldn't help myself from being an extreme people-watcher. The energy was truly distinct, I felt like I was so far away from Spain! The people were rather rough around the edges, sort of weathered- both appearances and actions. I think I needed this- an awaking that not all Europeans are perfectly primped, well-put-togeth and polite. I will never forget a little boy swearing at his friend, while having a normal conversation. It was something like "Yeah mate, and then I took the f*&%$#@g ball from her." !?!??! He couldn't have been older than four years old! The parents heard him and didn't blink an eye. I saw other children swear when talking to their parents and I just about tripped over my own jaw, full of shock. I've
noticed this in all three European countries I've seen thus far. The children can speak to their parents in any way they please; that certainly wouldn't happen at home! All of these kids would have had a stiff hand on the back of the head with the mouths they have, they're so extreme!
That night, (good ol' St. Paddys) was spent frolicking through Temple Bar, an area full of restaurants, clubs and bars. The streets were filled with people from all walks of life and couldn't happier to be in Dublin on St. Patricks day! Everyone was acting crazy; I had a group of Spaniards attack me and insisted that I knew how to speak Spanish. I guess they could just tell by the way I walked? Who knows... Speaking of international, I traveled to Dublin to see a friend from college and we went out with her housemates. Two were from Australia, one from the Czech Republic, two from Canada and one from India. We were quite the international crew! We all had a jolly-good time and I must say it was the best Paddy's Day I've ever had! And let me tell you, these people were drinking
like a prohibition was going to be instated the next day. I'm not kidding, I don't know how Irish bartenders can keep up with all the orders, especially on St. Paddy's day!
The next day was spent wandering the city- such an adorable place to visit! I was surprised by the decent fashion sense the women had- of course, I wasn't really expecting them to be the beautifully adorned Spanish and Italian women I've been around the past seven months. Let's be honest, no one is as well put together as the Mediterranean's finest but I was surprised at Irish's effort. That being said, it was enlightening to see a completely new region of Europe. By this I mean, that southern Europe has so much life, energy, zest, PASSION. Northern Europe has a drier appeal to it, people were extremely friendly and pleasant yet, the ambiance was grey and lacked the colorful vibrance of Southern Spain and Italy. I have to say, I expected this.
Later that day, I had a Guinness beef pot pie which was good, but Ireland is definitely not the country if you want to eat. But we all know I've already had my
big eating adventure a couple months back! Don't get me started...
That night was a whirlwind of fun mixed with many delicious Baileys' on ice. We were fortunate enough to go to the restaurant that Bailey's is actually named after! Or that's what they told us anyways....
We danced the night away in various clubs around Dublin and met an extremely wealthy Irishman who brought us to all the "happenin'" clubs. He was something like Ireland's prince of something, he knew everyone and later showed us "the book." This book was filled with signatures of presidents, kings and celebrities. It went quite nicely in the his "house". It really was a museum I think-looked straight out of the 17th century. Later that morning we took a lovely drive to Northern Ireland, to our friend's home in the middle of a green valley, an enormous cottage complete with an indoor pool and spa. Did I mention Northern Ireland happens to be a different country? They are still under British rule so they use pounds and the whole bit! Northern Ireland is a gorgeous land of green pastures, goats, old men wandering the roads with walking sticks and caps- adorable! Kind
of looked like a commercial for cheese. You know, the whole, "From our pastures to yours" or something, and then they show an old man smiling with his farm animals eating a piece of cheese or drinking milk. I know you've all seen something like that.
Our new well-to-do friend was too tired to take us back to Dublin so we were transported back via a private driver- rich people are something else! We made it back to Dublin in one piece after a crazy evening and took a tour of the Jameson whiskey factory, went to a very Irish restaurant for dinner and then fell into our beds. The next thing I knew I was on my plane back to Málaga!
The time went quickly but I couldn't have been happier to have seen a new region of Europe! I still chuckle as I think about how everyone sounded like leprechauns...
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