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Caitie's Travels

Ireland - the land of Guinness, Grand Times & Great Craic!

IRELAND | Monday, 21 March 2011 | Views [877]

I headed up to Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. I decided to go with a tour group so I could meet some new people and not worry about organizing anything! The tour met at 5.30am Wednesday morning to get started on the 9 hour bus and ferry journey to Ireland. The night before a group of people on the tour had met for drinks, and we could tell it was going to be an interesting four days as there were still some people who were rather happy from the night before! After a couple of head counts we were on the road to the emerald isle.

 

An hour or so into the journey we discovered that we had a stowaway on the bus… some of the boys had met a young lady out the night before and managed to smuggle her onto the coach for the trip to Ireland! She managed to get to Holyhead (the ferry) before she was kindly asked to leave the bus. This was really just the start of the shenanigans that were St. Paddy’s day! The drinking started on the ferry, the bar staff weren’t quite sure what to do with the bus loads of people that converged on the bar… The short bus ride through Dublin was much more lively than it was at 5.30am that morning! Once we arrived at the hostel (after fighting peak hour traffic) we quickly made ourselves presentable before heading to the pub next door for a BBQ and our first Guinness in Ireland. There was an Irish band playing at the pub and we danced our way into the night, pulling out some old irish jigs and steps from years gone by! It’s amazing how your feet just want to move when you hear a lively hornpipe being played… especially after a couple of pints of Guinness. I did however discover that it is rather difficult to multitask dancing and drinking at the same time! After a great night of drinking and dancing we eventually headed back and fell into bed, grabbing a couple of well earned hours of sleep before the big event – St. Patrick’s Day.

 

The day started with the sun shining and the feel of anticipation on the streets… today was St. Patrick’s Day, the day everyone is Irish! We all donned our various costumes and a sea of green converged on the main street of Dublin. We were very lucky in that our hostel was right on the main street, we could have watched the parade from our dorm window! The streets quickly packed full of people, and just after lunch time the parade passed us by. It was themed around an Irish short story called ‘Brilliant’, which was about finding the black dog of oppression that had come down over Dublin, and getting rid of him. The costumes and colours were amazing, although a lot of my photos are slightly out of focus as my camera was playing up! (perfect timing, ofcourse). I was slightly disappointed not to see any irish dancers in the parade, but I guess it didn’t fit with the theme. After the parade the population of Dublin, along with the influx of tourists converged on the many pubs in the city, and partied well and truly into the night! The atmosphere was amazing, everyone was happy to be there and up for a great night of partying. We pulled out the irish steps again, and the dance floor was full of people getting their “Michael Flatly” on! After a long day of excitement we gradually fell into our respective beds for some more sleep, in various states of soberness!

 

The next morning I headed to a local café with some friends for something a bit more filling than the hostel toast and watery tea. French toast has never tasted soooo good! After breakfast we had a bit of a wander around Dublin, to Christchurch Cathedral, through Temple Bar and to some souvenir shops. After lunch we all went on a walking tour arranged by the tour company, and heard about the history of Dublin and the various buildings about the city. We passed over one of the many bridges over the River Liffey that has a plaque commemorating when a priest apparently died by plunging off the bridge into the water… this is one of the most famous prank jokes in Ireland, as it was put there as a joke by some college students one night. Three years later a council worker noticed it and looked into it, and it managed to make national headlines! Ofcourse they decided to leave it there for others to be amused by. Following the walking tour we headed to the Guinness storehouse where we learnt about the delicious black stuff and even had a go at pouring our own ‘perfect pint’! We headed up to the top of the storehouse to the bar and enjoyed what is proclaimed to be one of the best views of Dublin. It really just looks like any other European city really, lots of roof tops and factories! After enjoying a couple of pints we headed back into the main part of the city to find ourselves some dinner. By this point I didn’t have much voice left, all that was left was a very high pitch that sounded a tad irish when I talked! I think it was all the Guinness bringing out my heritage… I sounded a bit like a squeaky squirrel and the guy who served us at the noodle place we went to for dinner had a great time making fun of me, along with the group of friends I was with! Not very nice at all L After dinner we went back to the pub (ofcourse) for our last pints of Guinness before we had to head home. Tonight was karaoke night, and we sang along with the best of them! I was reduced to miming, but it was a great fun night filled with more dancing, Guinness and singing.

The next morning we had another early start, and were on the bus ready to go at 6.30am. We were all much quieter this morning as we enjoyed the sunrising over the city as we headed towards the port for the ferry. Once on board we all collapsed onto the couches and enjoyed some more sleep before we had to pile back onto the coach. We watched some dvds and slept for the long drive back into London. I certainly didn’t envy our bus driver having to stay alert and awake for the drive back, I was fast asleep for the majority of the day! At least there were no accidents on the way home, we had sat in traffic for close to an hour on the way to Ireland. We all exchanged various contact details, and vowed to stay in touch, especially those of us who live in London or its surrounds.

 

It was an amazing four days that were full of excitement, a lot of Guinness, even more dancing and trying to understand drunk Irishmen! As the Irish would say, it was grand, it was brilliant, it was fan-fecking-tastic! :)

Tags: dublin, guinness, ireland, st. patricks day

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