St. Patrick’s Day
After a day and half of sleeping and resting we set out to Dublin’s city center to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. Back home we were often told that the Irish do not celebrate St. Patty’s Day like they do in America, this was not the case. In the Temple Bar district the streets grew to be as crowded as St. Patty’s Day in Tempe Beach Park when Flogging Molly played there a few years ago. The crowd of young Irish lads and lasses all had drinks in hand, shouts on their lips, and were all sporting green somewhere. Those that were not showing green prominently enough were quickly, loudly, called out and cajoled into addressing their blunder. Such was the case with me, however the lad who called me out gave me a pass saying, “ach, ye’ve got green eyes, yer good!” and off a-twirling he went. Strange. I thought they were blue. Though he was well into his cups so perhaps viewing the world through green beer goggles got me off the hook.
Every bar and pub was crowded, most with queues or rather, mobs, gathered near. The smell of sweat and beer was sour and pervasive, like The Dubliner on 40th and T-Bird between midnight and two a.m. It was hot and close but the energy…infectiously upbeat. Everyone was happy, singing, shouting, pinching rears, boys chasing girls and the girls giving back as good as they got. One pub we went into was three stories: the first was packed shoulder to shoulder, everyone jostling to get a drink; the second had an Irish congo line with a two man band directing that particular circus; the third had a few tables like a peanut gallery where folks would shout out requests and throw napkins on those below.
Arriving at O’Donaghues was the culmination of a decade long pilgrimage of sorts for me. One of my favorite bands was formed here, The Dubliners. Immediately upon entering I saw a picture of Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly and all the rest and I knew I was in the right place. Again it was packed but this time chock full of a different sort. I saw a few couples holding down a corner and some salty old-timers catching themselves on young shoulders while making their oft repeated trip to the head. With slightly more room to breath we were able to get a barrel to lean on and carry on a conversation. Thinking of The Dubliners playing where I was standing proved to be an excellent tonic beating back my weariness and we stayed for a few drinks. Lots of locals there and no tourists that we could spot. A total gem well worth a visit should you ever find yourself in Dublin.