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St. Patrick’s Day
Pros: Guinness, lot of souvenirs shopping, St. Paddy's Day parade,friendly and green country
Cons: none

Dublin, Ireland
Mar 17, 2002

From Hogmanay to St. Patrick's Day, we kept the theme of alcohol-fuelled celebrations going strong. But it's true...the Guinness really does taste better over here!!

Landed in Dublin and bussed it straight to Cork on the Southern end of the island. Nothing really much in Cork itself, but we couldn't go to Ireland and not kiss the Blarney Stone. Blarney Castle itself is really pretty; cool little dungeon passages underneath, and quiet gardens all around. Kissing the stone (part of the castle wall) was sorta anti-climatic - they rush you through it so fast you can't give the proper effort into the kiss as I normally would. No tongue at all! (Ewww)

Bussed it back to Dublin to meet up with Mel Potter at the ridiculously overpriced hotel. Very nice, but we definitely got some stares walking through the lobby with our packs. The bender was then officially on! Went across to the 'Cat in the Cage' and meet the locals, including drunk Uncle Duncan. (If we hadn't lost the film you could've seen just how cute this little old guy was!) Next day - Tourism 101: The Open-top Bus Tour. Really cool, seeing as how it was nice and sunny. Got off at the Guinness Brewery Storehouse, which is more like a modern art museum than a brewery. They finish the tour off with a free pint in their Gravity Room, a 360 degree glass-walled bar up on the roof.

We then (suprisingly) bought a lot of souvenirs. Soggy fish and chips, some mediocre fireworks and a few drinks with a couple of Yanks rounded off the night.

Sunday was St. Paddy's Day, so off we went parade-watching, with tacky green hats on our heads, and a drink we fondly named Jilt or Lint in our packs (Lint is a mixture of Gin and a citrusy pop called Lilt). The parade was rather cool - lots of Mardi Gras type characters and costumes and dancers. Lots of Pipers from NYC as well.
Of course, following a St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, there is really only one thing to do...head indoors to a licensed establishment and celebrate being Irish (if only for one day). We met up with Shazza, Meleia and AJ from Watford, at a pub called ****** and began to imbibe. Suffice to say, we ended up light in the wallet, covered with Irish flags/shamrocks/facepaint, and enjoying a general sense of well-being. The Shamrock shakes at McDonalds really didn't go down so well though...

The next day saw all the girls go back to London, leaving Erin & myself to tour the city. First we had to check out of out overpriced Best Western and check in at the grimy hostel downtown. (a difference of $100/night Cndn) We then hiked all across town; across the Liffey to Trinity College (Book of Kells and really cool old library) and St. Patrick's Cathedral, where we sat for Evensong (although the choir had the day off...). That was enough for our post-party abilities though, and we turned in early. The next day it was back to Watford.

All told, 6 days in a friendly, green country over its premier party weekend, an empty bank account, bags of souvenirs, and a new affinity for Guinness. Off to France in two weeks!