Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day in Ireland

Now that was a cultural experience. We got on the DART this morning amidst a green clad crowd. Dressed in our usual darker colors that normally fit in with the European culture, we stood out, for the first time in awhile. Today was the one day we should have dressed like tourists. We were more noticeable because we were sorely lacking in boisterous green clothing.
We got off at Connolly Station and walked to O'Connell Street. Gotta love these Irish names. Somehow, we have a connection to someone who owns a building on O'Connell street. They let us stand on the roof so we would have a fantastic view of the whole parade! We ate the lunches we had packed earlier this morning and watched the festivities. The whole parade was really weird. It was supposed to be based on some children's story, but we couldn't really figure it out. The floats just kept getting weirder and weirder... a giant Pinocchio, dancing potato chips, flying pigs, etc. It was crazy.
After that, we walked to the stadium and watched the Gaelic Games. I think this is like their version of the Super Bowl or World Series... except it's for Hurling and Gaelic Futbol. Hurling is like a more violent version of lacross where you can score by tossing the ball into the net or shooting (like soccer) or shooting it over the bar and between the posts (like football). Gaelic Futbol is basically the same thing, except you use a soccer ball, and you carry the ball but have to dribble it our bounce it off your foot every few steps. It was fun to watch! Definitely an interesting Irish experience.
Then it was dinner time! They had given us a few euro to eat and let us loose in Dublin. It was absolutely crazy! Normally, Dublin night life is a party worth experiencing. Tonight, it was just insane. Kathryn, Stephanie, and I managed to find a good chipper that wasn't letting all the drunk people in. So we sat down and enjoyed some really good food. From there, we decided it just wasn't worth it to hang out in town. So we hopped the DART and came back to Greystones. We thought about getting dessert at a local pub, but that was pretty insane too, so we're postponing that for later this weekend.
Honestly, the day time stuff was really fun, but the night time activities made me sad. When you think about St. Patrick and his original goals... Wow. This holiday has strayed so far away from that. Thankfully, last night, we spent a few hours doing a "monastic" day. We spent time in prayer, doing chores, and eating like monks. That basically means minimal talking, lots of praying, and lots of reading. While it was really hard for an extrovert like me to have all this quiet alone time, it was really good. And it made me less cynical about today. But I still feel bad. Some of our readings were things St. Patrick had written. He was a pretty amazing guy. But I'm sure he would role over in his grave if he saw how his holiday was being celebrated.
On that debby downer note... Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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