St.Patrick's Day and Friends

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April 2nd 2008
Published: April 2nd 2008
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I had a few friends from America visit me for their spring breaks. Jill, my friend from home, was in Dublin with me for St.Patrick's Day. The celebration was more than I could have ever expected. Until a decade ago the holiday was a low key celebration and national holiday in Dublin. It was only after Americans started coming to Ireland for St.Patrick's Day that Dublin really capitalized on the holiday. The city was filled with American tourists everywhere. The St.Patrick's Day festival was stretched out over four days. They closed down the center of town to traffic and put up a carnival. On the 17th there was an interesting parade. It was nothing like the St.Patrick's Day parades in American cities. There was absolutely no traditional irish dancing, music or bagpipes. Instead, the parade had a carnival-esq theme and there was people dressed up as insects and animals. I also saw four American high school marching bands, including one from bucks county. In the evening, a bunch of my friends went to our favorite Irish pub to continue the real celebration.

The next day Jill and I traveled out to Killarney to meet up with my friend from GW Megan and her brother Drew. We decided to bike the Gap or Dunloe and Killarney National Park. The whole area was formed by the melting of glaciers and is absolutely beautiful. We started at the top of the lake and made our way through the mountains to the bottom shores of the lake. Along the way we passed many flocks of sheep and beautiful outlooks over the mountains. Unfortunately, at the bottom of the lake we learned that the boat that takes you to the top of the lake only leaves once a day and we had just missed it. We ended up having to bike a little more than we expected, around 30 miles over the course of the day. Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and we had a view of the most beautiful part of Ireland.

On the following day we decided to give our legs a rest and we took a bus tour of the Dingle Penninsula. Dingle is a really rural area of western Ireland where most people still speak Gaelic. Although it was overcast, we could still make out the sprawling green fields that cover the area. We also had a chance to spend a little time in the small beach town of Dingle. Afterwards, the four of us returned to Dublin for Easter weekend. We soon discovered that Ireland strictly follows Easter. Good Friday and Easter Monday were national holidays and on Good Friday you cannot purchase alcohol in Ireland. It was so strange to see all the pubs closed down for the day. On Easter, we visited Dublin's biggest attraction, the Guinness factory. I also made an Irish easter dinner for everyone which consisted of ham and potatoes. It was so nice to have visitors, especially over the holidays.

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