Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Paddy's day memories

A Cead Mile Failte in Dublin Airport

Believe it or not but my first St Patrick's day celebration wasn't in Ireland. I must have been around 16 or 17 and my village organised a Paddy's day ceili so I went along with friends. There was Guinness, salt & vinegar crisps (I don't remember if they were Tayto's though...) and we even learned  Irish set dancing.

A few years later, I landed in Ireland and 17th of March was of course the day I was looking forward to the most. Except I got a job in a call centre, working in the French operation, so I was off on French bank holidays, but not on Irish ones. And for the first 4 years, I never got to see the parade or even celebrate.

Then there were the years I wasn't even in Ireland on Paddy's day. Once I was on a plane going on holidays, another time I was on the other side of the world in Mauritius (not that I would ever complain about that!).

I think we spent most of the day in a bar next to the beach

Then finally, after 10 years in Ireland, I managed to make it to Dublin with my sister and her friends.

Just a piece of advice if you're going to the parade in Dublin tomorrow: Arrive EARLY if you want to see something without having to climb on a fence, O'Connell statue or a friend...

I actually couldn't find any pictures of the parade itself. I don't remember what happened (and no, drink wasn't involved yet at that time of the day), but I suspect I didn't have a great view so there was no point...

Another reason might be I was a bit disappointed with the show itself. You see, in Ireland, Paddy's day parade is a celebration of the community. In smaller towns,  local groups (scouts, karate, dancing...) would walk alongside firemen, coast guards, even tractors... You might have a few music bands as well. And no parade would be complete without a local personality acting as the "Grand Marshall".

I was brought up in a region where we celebrate our Celtic heritage, where people parade in traditional costumes, play breton music and demonstrate dances. I guess I was just a bit disappointed by the lack of "traditional" Irish culture on St Patrick's day.

This doesn't mean I didn't have fun the day I went to Dublin. We took the compulsory picture with the Garda, we went to the pub and celebrated Ireland's national day with pride.

One thing for sure, being in Dublin on St Patrick's day is something everyone should do once in their life because well, it's just great craic!!

Happy Paddy's day !