St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin – Part I: A Craic Filled Weekend

This weekend about a dozen friends and I hopped down to beautiful Dublin to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. By all counts, it was just what the doctor ordered. I don’t know what it was – the excitement of traveling to a new city, celebrating St. Paddy’s for the first time ever, hanging out with so many of my friends all weekend or the prospect of drinking nearly continuously for 2 days straight – but it honestly was one of the greatest weekends in a long time.

We arrived in town around 10 in the morning on Friday, which was great, because it meant the whole day to look around and explore the city while the second batch of friends arrived later in the evening. As we disembarked from the bus at O’ Connell Street I was literally bubbling with excitement. Seriously, I was like a small child in a candy store! Once we finally managed to hunt down one of our friends, who had come over the day before, we began our adventure – us in all our fresh faced exuberance, him in his pajamas!

One of the first things I noticed about Dublin is that its such a small city. One could easily make ones way from one end to the another in under an hour, as long as you walked with purpose. This was absolutely great because it meant we saw so much of it that first day. We started by looking around the campus of Trinity College, located pretty much right in the middle of Dublin. It was a beautiful area with majestic buildings seemingly rich in history and architectural heritage. From there we made our way to the St. Stephen’s Green, a beautiful large park, situated in the somewhat southern half, which was full of beautiful flowers and amazing green spaces. We were exceptionally lucky too – apart from a few minutes of sparse drizzle, we were treated to heavenly weather. It was sunny and warm and after a few hours of walking around and basking in those rays I just wanted to lie down on the grass or under a tree and take a nap. It rather reminded me of being back home in Delhi, during those rare weeks in the year where the weather is transitioning between super cold and super hot and it is, to quote Goldilocks, “juuuust right!“.

Having worked up an appetite and a thirst from our strolling about town, it came time to find a proper Irish pub and get a nice hot meal. We ended up in a place called “The Hairy Lemon” (love the name, love their trade mark more!) where we settled in to our small table by the window and prepared ourselves for our first St. Paddy’s pint (drum roll please!). I found out something interesting through our server – apparently the phenomenon of “Green Beer” is not an Irish tradition, but rather an Irish-American tradition. To quote our server, “If you get a Green beer in Ireland, you’re in the wrong place!” I fear I lost even more points in his eyes when I ordered Cider instead of Guinness (I’m sorry, I just don’t like the flavor, in fact, I think it’s quite shite), but I redeemed myself when I ordered the “Dublin Coddle” (in his words “Well Done. You’re back“). I recommend you try this if ever you’re down in Ireland – it’s an amazing stew with carrots, onions, sausages, ham and potatoes – simply scrumptious. I’d like to share so more about the sights, sounds and tastes of Dublin, but I’ll save that for the second part of this post – “My Rules for St. Paddy’s”.

Once the sun went down and we found ourselves in the embrace of the evening breeze, there was but one thing to do – track down pint after pint of Guinness (or in my case, Bulmers). There are so many amazing places to go have a drink in Dublin, but the really popular area is Temple Bar. Now do note that while the area itself is called “Temple Bar”, there is also an actual Temple Bar, so be sure to know where exactly you’re telling your friends to meet you ; p We spent both our evenings basically just bouncing from pub to pub downing our drinks and having a riotously  good time. Most of the places in Temple Bar feature live music, which really gives the evening a special touch. Though I did notice a high volume of U2 covers ; ) And the music isn’t restricted to the establishments. There were buskers on the streets of Temple Bar playing music, performing or offering face-painting services for passing tourists. At one point my friend and I actually borrowed the set-up one of one of the buskers (who looked a lot like a young Joey Ramone) and performed one of the songs we wrote for the crowd. We even made him a couple of Euros from people who’s topped and listened. One of our friends had his iPhone out, so I will try to track down that video for you – after all, as I said to our congregated audience, “This is probably the only time you’re gonna hear this song live in the streets of Dublin“. More certainly so because in my rather fatigued and inebriated state I’m fairly certain I changed the words of the song ; p

Sigh I really could go on forever about this trip. By the end I was completely spent, but in a very good way. Today I get my exam date sheet, so the pressure will really be on to work and prepare. This weekend really helped clear some cobwebs and replenish some much-needed psycho-spiritual energy. I don’t know what you were up to this St. Paddy’s weekend dear readers, but I hope you had a wonderful weekend too. Happy St. Patrick’s.

P.S. Please don’t get the impression that I sent the entire weekend doped up – Craic, though pronounced “Crack” does not mean what it sounds like – it is the sort of all-encompassing Irish word to describe fun and mirth and enjoyment and laughter. So yes, indeed it was rather Craic filled : )

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