Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A festive St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland!

     Though St. Patrick's Day is long gone and Easter is approaching, I thought I should update everyone on our trip to Dublin for St. Patrick's Day.  We arrived in Dublin on Saturday afternoon--just in time to grab a quick dinner and enjoy the nightlife before getting a good night's sleep before the big day on Sunday.  A lot of the buildings were lit up in green throughout the town and one of the government buildings was even closed in by a carnival--a small carnival, though.

     We got up early on Sunday morning to get a coffee and find a good spot to watch the parade--which we did!  Since we got there around 10:15 (45 minutes early) we got free flags, t-shirts, and candy!  The space filled up quickly with all kinds of people there to watch the show.  

     There were two parades that morning--first, the Peoples' Parade which was made up of groups from around the world just walking through the parade, and second, the St. Patrick's day Parade which had floats, marching bands, dancing kids, and lots of costumes.  Below are some of my favorites!  Even though it was lightly raining at the beginning of the parade, things lightened up near the end.

     The parade lasted more than two hours, so we left about half an hour early ready to warm our feet and get away from the crowd, so we headed towards the Guinness Factory on the other side of town--about a twenty minute walk.  It was decorated and was having a big party with Irish dancing, free food, and we even got our caricature done and met some Americans while we were waiting!  The top of the building has a beautiful view of the city--so of course, there was a line just to get up there!  The place was extremely crowded, so I snapped a few shots, took in the city, and then we left.

     The name of the area where we stayed was Temple Bar--and it was central!  It was in the middle of everything--the parade was about a one-minute walk on Sunday morning and most of the other sights were only five or ten minutes.  This also meant that at night the area around the hotel is extremely busy!  The picture on the right was one of the bars in Temple Bar (I know, confusing) during the day.  It was a beautiful area and they lit up the streets with green to show some Irish pride.  Of course, at night (from about 7pm on) it was REALLY CROWDED (as you might imagine).  We walked through, and as we made it back to the hotel (which also has a bar/restaurant that was PACKED) we found the hotel had security just to make sure only hotel vistors could access the hotel side.  Our neighbors also had a loud party that night, but thankfully, the hotel somehow knew to provide earplugs.

     On Monday we walked around the city to see the main sights and get a feel for what Dublin is like the rest of the year.  We saw lots of beautiful places including St. Patrick's Cathedral which has an adjacent garden/park.  We walked through the shopping district on Grafton Street and saw a street performance, then we walked across the way to the Arc of Dublin and behind that was a beautiful park called St. Stephen's Green.  Let's just say that Stephen was feeling very Irish!  We also saw Christ Church Cathedral and Trinity College.

      We relaxed on Sunday night with an amazing dinner at The Bank--one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever been in and the food was delicious!  It was raining (again), so we walked about twenty minutes to a movie theater and watched "Oz the Great and Powerful" before heading back to our hotel--which by the way was The Morgan and getting a short, but good nights sleep.  For a vacation that we had planned in August of last year, I think everything turned out great and this has been my most memorable St. Patrick's Day!