So tomorrow is our National Holiday here in Ireland. Its a holiday known world-wide as a day of parades, drinking, merriment and general Irishness. Apparently everyone is Irish tomorrow. People the world over get to cut-in on our nationality and pretend for a moment that they are as cool as we. Also, lets not forget the green ice cream.
St. Patrick’s Day in NYC is unlike anywhere else in the world. It involved mitching-off school to stand in the freezing cold on 5th Avenue and watch lots and lots of men in uniform march by. You also got to wait for a flag to walk by with your county on it! Now, I don’t really have any county allegiances – so back then it was “Wicklow” for me – but today it could be “Dublin” or even “Wexford”! There was also the hilarious task of trying to get served in NY. My sister (who was well over 21 at this stage) would advise me to “keep cool” and only order a beer. Nothing fancy. Even in Irish bars it never worked. Ah, the curses of looking 15. Actually….I probably was 15.
I was really excited about my first St. Paddy’s Day in Ireland – after moving back home. I was in Gorey and apparently everyone from school was about – enjoying the day. However, something was stopping me, scaring me from leaving the house. Ya see, the day before Paddy’s Day – someone in my class had said “Hey Susan, are you gonna watch the Cow Run tomorrow?”…I looked at them with disbelief – “the wha?” I was then told that Cows were bet on, and sent running down the main street – taking down everything in their path, and making a mess EVERYWHERE. Now, of course at first I was skeptical, there was no way this town could be that “hick”. But then people in all my classes started talking about it in a very relaxed, “this happens every year” sort of way. People who didn’t even have any connection to each other! I was seriously thinking, “where the hell have my parents moved me to?!”
So, the night before the big day – I was still getting texts about the “Cow Run” in town and not replying! I then decided to say it to my mum – who not only laughed, but almost fell over onto the kitchen floor. Apparently, cow-chasing is not an acceptable pass-time in Gorey. Who knew! So yea, that Paddy’s Day was a bit of a disappointment – basically a parade of tractors and rainy weather.
Last St. Patrick’s Day, I was at the Irish Student Drama Awards in Belfast. Now, you’d think that being away with about 20 of your friends would be a cool way to spend the holiday. Well, apparently not in Belfast. The place was DESERTED. Everything closed at about 5pm and even the organisation of the Awards was arranged so that no one could socialise up in Belfast. We got in a taxi and tried desperately to find some alcohol – however, all the off-licenses were closed and no where was doing take-out! So our native taxi driver said he’d take us somewhere we could get drink…. oh boy. So we drove to a place that he said was “Orange” and he told us that we needed to be careful because the guys we were going to see didn’t like people from our part of the country. Wonderful. However, a student is as desperate as can be eh?
So, myself and Steve got out of the taxi and walked towards the place – a taxi office?! We cautiously walked inside – looking for some sort of life – nothing except a vending machine and a buzzer “ring for cab”. We nervously argued over who would press the button – when two girls walked in and did so. A strong northern accent said “What do you want?” and the girl (also in a northern twang) said “Can we have take-out please?” SUCCESS! So she asked for two bottles of vodka – which cost her £30. Steve and I quietly argued over what to get – when the very very large bald man turned to me and bellowed, “And you?” I eep-ed out, “I’ll have the same” in my best, put-on, Belfast accent. He got us the vodka. Scared the bejesus outta us!
Even after getting the vodka, the night didn’t turn out brilliantly – we were all cranky from not winning anything at the awards and our hostel was a complete hole, with no heat! So, that was another Paddy’s Day down the tubes.
For the first time ever, I’m actually in Dublin this year – and have decided to avoid town and the parade like the plague. I may however, partake in some green ice cream!
Image from here!