Mar 252004
 
Authors: Marika Krause

Everyone’s Irish on March 17. It seems like such a clich�

expression, but there was something fitting about the block

lettering across the beam at the Guinness factory at Saint James

Gate in Dublin. I wonder if the beam is always green, or if it too

had dressed up for the occasion. Although St. Patrick’s Day had

come and gone by the time we made it to the brewery, it’s an

experience I will remember forever.

We arrived in Dublin at 7 a.m. on the holiday to end all

holidays: St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin. The six American women, some

of us on Spring Break, others studying abroad in London, were

slightly disappointed to find the streets empty; but it was, after

all, the wee hours o’ the mornin.’ There was a sense of peace and

calm that would not last long.

After treating our bellies to some breakfast, we were delighted

to return to the bridge over the River Liffey packed with an odd

mix of locals and tourists. We walked through crowds of green- and

orange-clad partiers, speaking different languages with different

accents.

We searched for the thinnest spot to park ourselves for the

parade. Our own little party train was briefly halted on several

occasions. A loud Irishman discussing the luck of kissing the Irish

with passersby was halted by a young, female Japanese tourist.

Although they did not speak the same language, he understood she

wanted a picture with the young man. I took my own mental picture

as the man proudly displayed the fake butt cheeks protruding from

his St. Patrick Day’s soccer, or football, shorts and the woman

proceeded to grope them. It was going to be an interesting day

indeed.

The Irish hippies offered to paint shamrocks and Irish flags on

the cheeks of anyone willing to part with two Euros. Street vendors

passed out large Dr. Seuss-like hats in Irish colors,

Guinness-shaped pints and shamrock-clad varieties. Parents propped

toddlers on their shoulders hoping to allow their little ones a

view of the festivities to come. The children seemed excited too,

not only by all of the visual stimulation, but probably also for

the free ride.

The parade began with three jester-like angels teasing the crowd

and blessing the children with pieces of confetti placed on their

foreheads. A random array of floats and marching bands followed.

Mermaids, lepers, polar bears, dragons, the Queen of Hearts …

there seemed to be no end to the randomness.

There were bagpipers from Spain and Texas, but none from

Scotland. We were surprised at how many American marching bands had

been invited to play. “Yeah, Colorado,” we yelled in typical

college fashion as students from a Loveland high school tooted

their horns and banged on their drums in front of thousands.

We got a lovely tour of the Dublin countryside as we got on a

bus for our hotel headed in the wrong direction.

“You’s from America, right?” two Dublin teenagers asked. They

were as excited about our accents as we were at theirs. We asked

them where we should go out that night, but it seemed to be a silly

question. It was St. Patrick’s Day; everyone’s Irish and there’s a

celebration everywhere.

A traditional Italian meal ensued, as most traditional Irish

pubs weren’t selling anything but liquor. We headed to a night of

Guinness, whiskey and cute Irish locals attempting to convince

silly American girls that it’s bad luck not to kiss an Irish man

who asks.

At the top of the Guinness Brewery, we looked out over all of

Dublin and reflected on the day before. The Guinness was a cold and

smooth finish to an eclectic and crazy trip. We’d just spent St.

Patrick’s Day in Ireland. I feel spoiled. March 17 will never be

the same. Erin Go Bragh!

Marika is the news director for KCSU. Her column appears every

other Friday.

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