A True Irish St. Paddy's Day

My semester abroad continues to be an amazing experience. Not only did I get to experience Valentine’s Day in Paris, the City of Love, but I also got to experience a true Irish St. Paddy’s day in my current home away from home in Cork, Ireland! Funnily enough, I learned in my Irish Folklore class that the Irish never used to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as it was not one of their main festivals—which usually centered around farming and agriculture—and that it was not until the Irish immigrants in American began to celebrate it that the Irish realized maybe they should too. Now it has become a holiday full of national pride that is celebrated around the world.

In addition to getting the day off from university, there was a massive celebration in the city center complete with food, games, a lot of green and a parade celebrating the different communities and organizations within Cork.

After the parade ended around 2 PM, the real celebration began as everyone took to the pubs to enjoy good company, traditional music (trad music for short) and dancing, and a pint (or more). All-in-all, the craic was ninety (i.e. it was a TON of fun) and an experience I will never forget!

If you get the chance, I highly recommend coming to Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day where the fun and national pride are infectious. While I chose to stay in Cork for the holiday, other top locations include Galway and Dublin, of course. Some notable mentions about St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland:

1)      If you go into a pub, you can get any drink you want dyed green!

2)      Pinching people for not wearing green the day of is not practiced in Ireland; it is apparently only an American custom.

3)      It is in fact St. Paddy’s Day, not Patty; don’t ask me why but the Irish are very particular about this.

Éirinn go Brách!

All photos courtesy of Clara Timbalasake.