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Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Abroad in Dublin, Ireland

Since being accepted to the CEA Dublin program, I have been looking forward to being in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day. Now that the festivities have ended and all the green outfits have been packed away, I can definitively say that there is no better place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than in Dublin, Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day weekend in Dublin was packed with cultural festivals, a parade, numerous pub crawls, swarms of people adorned in green clothing, and a lot of craic, which is the Irish word for fun. 

On Friday, I attended a free Irish dancing lesson in front of the famous St. Stephen’s Green with three friends. The lesson was taught by a group of competitive Irish dancers that shouted out directions from the stage while everyone on the street attempted to follow. Dancing in a large of crowd of people was exciting and memorable, but also reminded me of why I stopped taking Irish dancing lessons as a child. Although I like to think I am well coordinated, I cannot stick to even the simplest of beats. 

Later that evening, we signed up for a Viking Pub Crawl through Dublin. The great thing about the pub crawls in Dublin are how the guides mix historical information and stops into the route. This crawl in particular played on Dublin’s long history with Viking settlers. Fun fact: The Irish stereotype of red hair and blue eyes actually comes from the Vikings that stayed in Ireland!
 Irish Dancing Lesson
 
 Shamrock in a Guinness on the Viking Pub Crawl

The following day I decided to check out the markets and festivals being held throughout the city. Thankfully there was an iPhone app created just for St. Patrick’s Day weekend, which provided the list of events with directions and times. It was extremely convenient to have the weekend’s itinerary right there in my pocket! I decided to check out a food and craft beer festival with some of my classmates. At the festival, there was traditional Irish food to sample and locally brewed beer and whiskey to taste. I ended up eating a Guinness and Beef pie for lunch, which was surprisingly delicious despite the Guinness and meat combination. Following the market we headed over to a carnival where we rode the ferris wheel and a ride that spun us upside, which was probably not the best choice after the Guinness and Beef pie. 
 Food and Craft Beer Festival
 
 Ferris wheel at the carnival

On Monday, there was the big parade to celebrate. This year’s theme was “Ireland’s Past” and consisted of floats and performers that commemorated Irish History. Next year’s parade theme will be “Ireland’s Present” and the following year will be “Ireland’s Future.” Thousands of people lined the streets to watch the parade wind its way through the city center. The parade was a great way to end the once in a lifetime opportunity of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland and I could not be more grateful for this experience!
 Waiting for the parade to begin!
 
 Dressed up for the parade

Abigail Marchione is the 2014 Spring MOJO for Dublin Ireland. She is currently a junior at DePaul University.

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