One of the things we were most looking forward to about being in Dublin for a couple of years was experiencing St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. A number of people told us it is a complete and utter shit show and that we should stay far away from the city center, but we were determined to go out and have a good time nonetheless. From the time I was eight years old until I was sixteen, I marched in any number of parades with cheer, dance, and drill teams so I have a special place in my heart for these big productions (confession: I tried out to be on the Rose Parade dance team but unfortunately wasn’t good enough to make it to the final group from which the girls were chosen). Even now, all these years later, when a marching band plays the signal to members to queue the music and to start marching, a little thrill runs down my spine and I get excited to hear what’s coming next. So yeah, I love parades and I sure as hell wasn’t going to miss the St. Patrick’s Day parade here. The night before we went out and already the city was in full festive mode which was really fun. We slept in on Thursday and when we woke up we checked the parade route and decided to catch it at the end- St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Seemed fitting, no? It also meant we could walk there since we live only 2.5 kilometers away. We were worried we’d gotten a late start and wouldn’t get a good spot on the parade route, but as we got into Harold’s Cross we saw tons of other people making their way to the route so that made us feel better. We walked about half a block past the Cathedral and found a spot near the front of the crowd with a view of one of my favorite buildings in the area. It took about 40 minutes for the parade to make its way to where we were after its noon start time, so we were standing for about two hours before we left. There were a few highlights for me. First, gotta love the marching bands. Old Dominion University came over from Virginia and while they didn’t play a full tune while near us, they did a few awesome march moves and the percussion group kept good time. There were a few first responders from a Berkeley accident that involved several young Irish students who also marched, and while it was nice to see a bit of home, I just wish it had been under other circumstances. The floats were interesting. Bizarre. I still don’t know that I understand what most of them represented. All told, I didn’t find the experience of attending the parade to be the shit show our friends and colleagues had predicted and I think that comes down to where we chose to watch it. I’ve seen pictures from other parts of Dublin and it looked like a madhouse! Blogger Sara Sees was down on Dame Street which is smack dab in the middle of the city center and the crowd was significantly larger down that way. I can’t imagine that wouldn’t been enjoyable because I don’t see how anyone without a ladder or a balcony could have seen any of the parade with the crowd being that large.