Apparently, I was one of the 400,000 people who attended the St Patrick’s Day festivities in Dublin on March 17, 2022. As soon as I stepped out of my room at 11:30am on that day, I knew that the whole country was ready to party. I looked to the left and an overwhelming amount of people were marching down the street with their bright green hats and sweaters. I looked to the right and flags after flags of green, white, and orange were dancing in the air under the blue sky.
I was supposed to meet a friend to watch the parade together but a 5-minute walk to get to her turned into an hour-long wait because streets were blocked by black barricades and walking anywhere meant pushing people covered in green.
Sadly, because I am short, I could not really see the parade, but I still enjoyed listening to marching bands and watching adults and children cheer together to celebrate the Irish heritage.
After the parade, I sat with a friend on the rooftop of my dorm to eat a giant Irish burger to escape from the chaos. But I chose to stay in my room for the rest of the day because I did not want to partake in the let’s-drink-all-day-and-get-wasted madness.
The day after St Patrick’s Day was an extra once-off public holiday, and I was invited to a house party at my Irish friend’s house. The ocean view from the balcony, the homemade trifle (traditional Irish dessert), and the singing and the dancing left me in awe. I felt as though I was truly experiencing the Irish culture for the first time. My friend from Trinity who invited me to this party has a couple of decades of work experience under her belt, so I was the youngest person in the room, but I didn’t mind it. Her husband had all kinds of percussion instruments (e.g., bongo, cajon, etc.) and many of the guests brought their own instruments (e.g., Irish tin whistle, guitar, ukulele). Throughout the night, they casually jammed their heart out to Irish songs I’ve never heard of, AND the best part was that they even let me join the session with the bongo and the cajon (which I’ve played before)! They tried to teach me how to play the bodhrán, the Irish frame drum, but I definitely need more practice. Anyways, these two holidays made me appreciate my study abroad experience even more!