Everyone should spend at least one St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. With an estimated half-million people crowded into the streets of central Dublin, it was a bit challenging to view the parade, but excellent for people watching.
We finally ended up in a local pub, where we enjoyed a pint of Smithwick’s while watching the parade on television.
At sunset on St. Patrick’s Day, many of the major buildings in Dublin are lit up green. We didn’t make it back to the city center, but our hotel was near to the convention center.
Monday morning we paid a visit to the National Leprechaun Museum, as both my husband and I were interested in learning more about Irish folklore. The only option to visit this museum is to be a part of a guided tour, led by a “storyteller.” While we did learn bits of interesting information during our 45 minute visit, both my husband and I felt it wasn’t worth the 12 euro price of admission.
But we did enjoy the public art that is on offer throughout Dublin.
In the afternoon, we meandered through the streets of the Viking/Medieval area of Dublin. Many of the buildings were built in the 11th and 12th centuries.
We also paid a visit to the grounds of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, built in 1192, but occupying a site that was used by St. Patrick himself in the 5th Century.
Because we were travelling in Ireland with a book group, many members who are themselves writers, we couldn’t leave Dublin without partaking in a self-guided literary pub crawl. My good friend Elisabeth kicked off the night with her exuberant narration.
Over the course of the evening, we visited O’Neill’s Bar, The Duke, Davy Byrne’s and John Kehoe’s. Along the way, I enjoyed O’Hara’s Irish Red Ale, Bo Bristle IPA, Cork Dry Gin and Deep-Fried Brie Cheese as we followed in the footsteps of James Joyce, Brendan Behan, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and W.B. Yeats.
On our final day in Dublin, we joined a guided walking tour of the 1916 Easter Rebellion, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in Irish history. The tour kicked off at the quaint International Bar, where it is never too early to enjoy an Irish Coffee laced with Paddy Whiskey. This helped me brave the freezing temperatures, snow and hail we were to encounter on our 3-hour walking tour.
Throughout the course of the tour, we stopped at Dublin Castle, the City Hall, the River Liffey and the General Post Office building on O’Connell Street, each location having a significance to the rebellion. Although the rebellion didn’t turn out as planned by the organizers (15 of the organizers were captured and executed), a proclamation was issued declaring independence from the United Kingdom and the event helped pave the way for the Irish Civil War of 1922-1923.
Much of present-day O’Connell Street was destroyed during the 1916 Rising, and subsequently rebuilt. Following our tour, and upon the recommendation of our tour guide, we ate lunch at one such building that had been affected — The Oval Bar. I recommend their chicken curry, served with both rice and chips.