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Study Abroad Blog

Born Irish - Born Lucky

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day!

On many people’s bucket list is “St. Patrick’s day in Dublin.” Well, I can officially say that I can check it off.

Before I get into the details, a little history. Saint Patrick is known as the Patron Saint of Ireland. He is credited with bringing Catholicism to Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the apparent anniversary of his death, March 17 each year. Not only is it celebrated in Ireland, but all around the world. Saint Patrick’s Day is not only a celebration of Saint Patrick, but of Ireland itself.

Each year, Dublin hosts a parade on O’Connell Street. The parade starts at noon, but if you aren’t there before 10, you aren’t going to have a spot. Between 500,000 and one million people travel to Dublin each year to experience the festivities.

 500,000 of our new friends

To get into city centre on Saint Patrick’s Day was kind of difficult. Buses weren’t allowed on O’Connell Street, so we had to find our way. I come from Wisconsin, and anyone who has been to a Badger game knows that you can just follow the sea of red and you’ll end up where you’re supposed to. I took that same mentality and brought it to Dublin. Follow the sea of green and you will find your way (that should be an Irish proverb). My friends and I got into city centre at about 9:15 AM and things were just starting to heat up. Everywhere we looked there was green, and people were piling into Carrol’s and Paddywagon (tourist shops) looking for more green to add to their already fully green outfits. Our group decided to sit down right along the gates and get a good seat. Before we knew it we were surrounded by 500,000 people and saying that we were overwhelmed would be an understatement.

I love parades. And this is no exception. The parade started without a hitch and soon we were hearing bagpipes and seeing “fairies.” To our surprise, all of the marching bands were from the United States. We saw marching bands from Chicago, Indiana, and Louisiana. Apparently we’re more liked here than previously thought. There were dancers and intricate costumes (some of the dancers were borderline scary though). It was a really fun parade.

 I'm telling you, America and Ireland are tight.
 When I saw this spider I was semi-freaked out.

After the parade ended we decided it was only right to check out some of the local pub and restaurants. EVERYWHERE WAS PACKED. We even went to Starbucks and that, too, only had standing room. I would equate Dublin on Saint Patrick’s Day to trying to maneuver through the Mall of America on Black Friday – almost impossible.

Nonetheless, it was a fun day and a learning experience. Everyone got home safely with a few memories to cherish. But what can I say; it’s the luck of the Irish.

Sally Keckeisen is the Spring 2015 MOJO Blogger in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul.

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