My first St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin was, in a word, wet. Very wet, and cold. And crowded. My BFF is in town so we knew we had to at least venture into the city centre to experience the day for which Ireland is known throughout the world.
But we were also smart enough to know that we would be absolutely miserable amongst the throngs of drunken, green-clad tourists. So, as everyone headed to the parade we were just about the only two people heading in the opposite direction. Destination – Trinity College and the Book of Kells. In celebration of the holiday, the normal €9 entrance free was discounted – to FREE! Score!
I love museum exhibits like the Book of Kells. And it was a joy to see the ancient manuscript up close. But the real treat for a book geek like me was The Long Room, which is exactly what you think it is – a long room. A very, very long room filled floor to ceiling with books. This is what I think heaven might look like:
After Trinity and a lovely lunch of Irish beer and Guinness stew, we braved the throngs and the rain and headed to the Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle. The parade was over by then, so there were a lot of really drunk, rowdy people trying to figure out what to do next.
I definitely got the feeling as we weaved in and out of the crowd that these people were mostly NOT Irish. It seemed (and sounded) to me like most of them were tourists celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin the way they would most likely spend it at home – getting rip-roaring drunk. And that’s fine. Tourist euros are tourist euros, right? But I kind of feel bad for these people because I don’t think they are getting an authentic Dublin experience. But I suppose that’s their choice as well. Just as it was mine and BFF’s choice to hightail it back to Ranelagh well before dinner time.
I get the sense that St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin is a lot like New Year’s Eve in Times Square – the locals stay far, far away while the tourists pack in. And that’s exactly what the BFF and I are going to do on this St. Paddy’s night, and probably what I will do for every St. Paddy’s Day from here on out for as long as I reside in Dublin.