Some Irish revelry

Some Irish revelry

Some Irish revelry
It is a cold morning in Dublin and the sky is overcast as I step out for a walk. The mood is sombre as the trees are bare and grey tones fill the atmosphere. The silence is overwhelming.  But then it lasts just for a few seconds. As I walk towards the city centre, it seems like I have walked into a magical moment as I am swept away in a sea of green, tossed around by a wave of euphoria and energy. The beer is overflowing and the spirits never end.

I see four men, dressed as superheroes painted in green. They are only too willing to flaunt their muscles and pose for me. Every Irish on the street vies with the other as they turn up in outlandish costumes. Suits in green, quirky top hats, painted faces — I am blinded by the riot of colours.  One little boy is seated in his little toy car waving the green flag. And then a handsome man in a golden hat, dressed in a green suit, walks past me and everyone just goes berserk wanting to pose with him. Meet St Patrick, the legendary patron saint of Ireland. It is March 17 and we are commemorating his death anniversary, which is ‘a feast day’ that heralds the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.

Battle of the quirky
The luck of the Irish has brought me to the city on St Patrick’s Day where the word ‘crazy’ takes a new meaning. There is a spirit of bonhomie as laughter and loud music fill the air. The Parnell Square is teeming with people who are trying to compete in weirdness. Being quirky is the order of the day. As one of the Irish men tell me, “This is one religious day where we are allowed to get drunk and go crazy, but then of course we don’t really need an excuse to drink.” He laughs as I can hear a group singing ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ loudly.

The legendary Irish humour spills out in the streets as hilarious sayings stare at me from placards. I pick up a hair band with a cute green hat and some shamrock for myself and potter about the city, soaking in the atmosphere. We are at the square waiting for the parade to start as millions of Irish throng the roads of Dublin. People are standing on statues, some perched on trees. Every window and rooftop is filled with loud voices as they cheer long. I can hear bagpipers as dancers take centre stage.

Soon the parade begins and I am thrilled to be part of it, waving to the crowds from one of the buses. Standing next to me is The Mad Hatter and she says that the tradition of a parade during St Paddys Day, as they call it, is just over a century old. I am just simply overwhelmed by the grand parade and the pageantry surrounding it.

There are only two main ways to celebrate St Patrick’s Day — to be part of the parade, and then to get drunk at any of the 750 pubs that litter the city, as every one of them is overflowing with the spirit of the festival. And naturally, my first stop is at the legendary Guinness Storehouse where we get a free drink as well. I quickly walk through the museum and spend the afternoon guzzling beer and discussing everything ‘Irish’. As they say, St Patrick’s Day is when everyone becomes Irish for a day. Funny phrases and quotes fill the air. Sample this: ‘May you always have love in your hearts and beer in your belly’.

I head back into the street and walk past the Trinity College, Dublin Castle and several landmarks in the city. There are stalls everywhere. Events that promise ‘Singing Girls’ and ‘Loud Screeching Music’ pipe my curiosity. And there are several musical shows and live performances held around Dublin. One of the most fascinating experiences is at the Teeling Distillery where you become storytellers on the spot. The names are called out randomly and you need to be ready to spin a five-minute story on the spot. I am thirsty again and this time I sip Irish coffee to keep my spirits high. It is only apt that my last port of halt is at the Irish Craft Beer and Whiskey Village, where I sample not just beers and whiskeys, but ciders and gourmet food as well.

Leading legends
However, a trip to Dublin on St Patricks Day is not complete without a visit to a little windswept charming town by the sea called Skerries, where we are following the saint’s footsteps. It is believed that he landed on one of the islands here in the seventh century. According to the legend, an angry St Patrick had apparently leapt across two islands, with one foot on Colt and another on Red Island, when he heard that the locals had killed a goat, which was his pet. Even today, the footprint on Red Island beckons people from all over the world.

As I see the mystical impression on the rock filled with water and feel the cool sea breeze on my face, I sit for a moment and embrace the true meaning of St Patricks Day while my magical trip to Ireland ends on the note.

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