So contrary to what I had been told, the Irish do in fact take St. Patrick’s Day very seriously, especially in Cork. St. Patrick’s Day (or St. Paddy’s day, but NEVER St. Patty’s Day) is officially a religious holiday for the country, celebrating the patron saint of Ireland. Surprisingly enough, rather than being a solemn religious event, the locals put on a multi-day festival of merriment with activities including a street fair, live bands, traditional music, and even a parade.
To be honest, I completely forgot about the festival, and was locked up in my room trying to complete an essay that is worth 100% (yes, ALL) of my my grade for the semester. Ironically, the essay is actually on St. Patrick in literature, so if you want to know more about St. Patrick than you ever needed to know, hit me up! (spoilers: neither the driving out snakes nor the shamrock is mentioned in any official literature about him).
Luckily, one of my apartment mates was kind enough to ask me to join her on an adventure to the City Centre, where we partook in ice cream with green cones, baklava, sausages, pork pies, and free green tea. We parked ourselves right next to the live band (who was actually phenomenal, and I stayed long after I had finished my food just because I enjoyed their music that much), and stuffed ourselves silly. We then wandered the streets, watching all the street performers (a man seemingly sitting on nothing, a woman on stilts, many different musicians), before heading home to rest up for the next day.
Me (on March 1): MY BIRTHDAY IS COMING
Me (on March 7) MY BIRTHDAY IS ALMOST HERE
Me (on March 10): IT’S PRACTICALLY MY BIRTHDAY
Me (on March 15): MY BIRTHDAY IS IN TWO DAYS
Emily: So what are you doing for it?
Me: …do something for it???
And that’s how Emily reminded me that people actually do things on their birthdays with friends, not just be excited about it. Usually my birthday falls during Spring Break, and most of my friends are off campus, so I’ve never really celebrated it with anyone but family during college. I fixed that this year with an awesome Japanese birthday dinner at Wagamama’s where I pretended like 21 meant something and ordered a plum wine spritzer (they didn’t even card). We then explored multiple pubs searching for trad music, and found some pretty awesome bands (including country, jazz, and one even sang Avicii’s Wake Me Up in Gaelic), but no trad music. Our night ended sitting on the court steps eating Chipsy Kings, and watching the drunks dressed in green singing and dancing in the streets.
DAY 3 (ACTUAL ST. PADDY’S DAY)
(So something I learned here is that you NEVER, NEVER EVER, NEVER EVER EVER call Saint Patrick’s Day ‘Saint Patty’s Day’. It is always St. Paddy’s Day, after the original name Padraig.)
Anyway, my actual birthday/St. Patrick’s Day was actually the best day of all. Heather, Sam, and I picked up Heather and Emily in the City Centre, and we all headed to the parade route, making sure to pick up some silly paraphernalia on the way. The parade was phenomenal, but oddly enough only had one marching band? What it did have was acrobats, many different ethnic groups, and even a fire breather! The street was lined with children and adults dressed in green, and the parade went on for an entire hour and a half.
After it ended, our feet ready to fall off, my group searched for a restaurant to warm up in and grab lunch. Unfortunately every single person who had also been watching the parade had the same idea, and it wasn’t until our fourth restaurant that we found a table free. It was a cute little Chinese restaurant (that I’m planning on going back to, they had dim sum!), where we had our fill and headed back out. After checking out the main street of attractions (food and music galore), I went back to my room to watch netflix, eat popcorn, and try to write an essay. Not the most exciting way to end my birthday, but most definitely the most satisfying.