Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Parade

I thought long and I thought hard and I came to the conclusion that I haven’t even been to a parade. I have seen a few on TV, but never stood on the side of the road as one marched by. If I were going to have a first parade, the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day parade would be one of the top ones to open up with, right?

Well, the weather forecasts were correct, I did get colder and windy. It was spitting snow and right about freezing with a stiff wind. My new hat was the difference between a small Irish head cold and certain death by pneumonia. Best €20 I have ever spent.

After figuring out that the buses were on a Sunday schedule due to the holiday, I got down to Temple Bar a little later than I had planned to, which in the cold weather was probably a good thing. I grabbed some coffee and was able to find a good spot to watch with only one shorter spectator in front of me. Not bad for getting to the site about 1 hour before the start. Over the next hour my spot got over 6 deep.

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I’m not sure, but I think this was the mayor
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Behind the horses was the poop sucker. He got some of the loudest cheers.

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I’d rather be this guy than the grand marshal
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It was really cold.

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The Univ. of Illinois marching band were a fan favorite

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The grand marshal came early in the parade in a vintage Rolls-Royce.

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Grand Marshal Davos Seaworth (er, Liam Cunningham)

And there were pipes and drums

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And then the bug-people came out

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I have to give much respect to the color guards and baton twirlers who marched the whole route AND smiled the whole way. Especially those from Stephen F. Austin University in Texas. They looked the coldest.

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There was a high school band from Minnesota who looked like they were enjoying the warm weather compared to what they left back home 🙂 I was freezing after being out there for a few hours. It was worth it, but I would like to come back and see another parade when it is warmer.

I Don’t Feel So Good

I woke up early after a good 12 hours sleep and realized that either I had caught a cold from the hotel desk clerk yesterday, or I had caught one along the way. There is never a good time to be sick, but there are worse times, and on day one of a trip is one of the worst.

My plan for the day was now to minimize the likelihood that this was going to be a trip length cold. I took the train into town to get some supplies and figure out where a few things were. I’d throw my plans for this day out the window so I could come back to the hotel and rest with the hope that I would keep this cold to 3 days or less.

I went to the General Post Office to pick up some stamps for my postcards, and I really like the fact that such a historic place is still an active post office. It was before the museum opened for the day, so I didn’t wait around for that. I grabbed a few postcards and souvenirs at a book store nearby, and went to a cheese shop a few blocks away to buy some Irish cheese. If anything will make me feel better it is cheese.

After the cheese shop, I took the bus back to the hotel. I had bought a ticket to a silent movie at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and as much as I hated to miss it, I was going to sacrifice it for more sleep and the chance to get better before I left Ireland. I’m not complaining. Having a head cold in Ireland in better than having a head cold back home. At least here there is great Irish, and BBC TV.

I’m Not The Only One Who Came To Ireland For St. Patrick’s Day

After a short flight from Paris, I landed in Dublin during a very windy and rainy day. The last 10 minutes of the flight were a bit like a roller coaster ride. Airsick bags were pulled out and at the ready by some, and the rear of the plane let out a cheer once we were on the ground. I was too tired to care.

Once off the plane I soon realized that I was not the only person who had decided to pond the holiday in Ireland. I was at the back of a line that took an hour to get through passport control. Never have I wanted an EU passport more than when I got in that line.

One of the other issues with EVERYBODY going to Dublin for the holiday was a lack of hotel rooms in the city center at my kind of rates. So I took a long cab ride out to West Park where my hotel was. Usually I’m all about public transit when I travel, but sleep deprivation made me opt for the expense of a taxi. The hotel is near a train station and a bus stop so I can make up for that expanse over the next few days.

While I was checking in to the hotel, the friendly lady at the front desk was coughing and commented that she was coming down with a cold and would be going home soon. Uh-oh. She was very nice, so I felt sorry that she wasn’t feeling well instead of angry that she was potentially infecting me with some virus.

I got to my room and went to sleep with plans to hit the town first thing in the morning.

 

Ireland For St. Patrick’s Day 2018

Here’s some info on this trip:

  • CHA to ATL to IAD on Delta. IAD to CDG to Dublin on Air France. Dublin to AMS to IAD on KLM. IAD to ATL to CHA on Delta. More legs and airports than I’d like, but I got a super deal from Washington Dulles (IAD).
  • Books: The True Flag by Stephen Kinzer. It’s about the Spanish-American War, which doesn’t get covered much in US schools, so I’m learning lots of new things.
  • Music: Plenty. I’ve been discovering all of my collection again by filling up my new desktop with my CDs. Long story and long process.
  • TV: None, I’m going to read.
  • Guide Book: Lonely Planet Dublin
  • My Mother’s Biggest Fear: Nothing this time. That’ll be two trips in a row!
  • My Biggest Fear: Too much Guinness.
  • Plans: I bought tickets to two St. Patrick’s Festival events, checking out the parade, several museums, a pub or two, some bookstores, record stores, etc.

 

The biggest part of this trip, outside of the cool stuff in Dublin, will be my first attempt in a long time to sleep on a plane. I have never really been able to so I have stopped trying. I am planning to give it a shot again. I figure if I can get even a small nap in, it will be better than nothing.

I am also trying out my new AirPods for the first time. The new iPhone I got a few months back was the 8, and it saw the removal of the headphone jack. Since the earbuds now plugged into the charging port, it makes it impossible to charge and listen at the same time. If you also add the fact that one of my cats chewed the wire on my new earbuds that came with the phone, the jump to wireless was a no-brainer. Sigh.