Not sure if my last name, Gilmartin, gave it away but in case you didn’t know I’m a little bit Irish. I’ve always wanted to travel to Dublin for St. Patty’s Day and then drive along the coast, gazing at green pastures towards Cork. Since I’m too late in planning for this weekend, Alexandra Jacobs, of the blog Alex’s Journeys will take us there.
Guest post by Alexandra Jacobs:
On March 17th, the celebration of St. Patrick, everyone seems to be Irish! The activities and traditions carry on from year to year. I’ll explain some of the background of where St. Patrick’s Day came from and why traveling to Dublin for St. Patty’s Day will give you the best experience you will ever have! Spending St. Patrick’s Day celebrating in my home in New York City is a fun time, however, I can only imagine how Dublin will be.
St. Patrick was born in Wales late in the 4th century, abducted by Irish adventurers, and converted to Christianity while remaining in captivity for six years. He became a priest spreading the Word throughout Ireland where he died March 17, 460. He is celebrated throughout the Ireland and, indeed, the world, as the patron saint of the isle; therefore, St. Patty’s Day is for commemorating all things Irish by any means necessary especially in Dublin.
In 2012 the theme for the St Patrick’s Festival Parade is science especially pertaining to those questions asked by children. Questions such as: “How do you tell how old the forest is?” or “What lives under the sea?” will generate pageants performed on the parade route from Parnell Square to St Patrick’s Cathedral. Marching bands from the UK, the US and Russia will provide the music accompanying these pageants. Festivities begin at 12 noon.
For the adults, also beginning at 12 noon on the 17th as well as other days during the week, the Irish Craft Beer Festival will be at Saint George’s Dock at the IFSC. Here will be music, fine Irish beer, food stalls, as well as creative workshops, street performers and face-painting. This is another celebration of being Irish.
One can celebrate Ireland’s patron with a walk in his footsteps escorted by Pat Liddy, renowned Dublin historian. He will guide participants through some sites such as Christ Church and St. Patrick’s cathedrals as well providing an overview of pre-Viking Development in Dublin. These walks occur on the March 16, 17, 18 and 19 beginning at College Green at 2:30pm.
Finally, a word about the St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin, sponsor of the above activities, is necessary. Beginning in 1996, supporters of a new and peaceful Ireland wanted to demonstrate that changes had begun. They were amazed at a participating audience numbering at 430,000. The next few years the festival grew taking up to 18 months to plan for the annual celebration; by the early 2000s more than a million and half people participated in the festivities. Dublin’s festival is now one of the greatest celebrations in the world, stemming from Irish innovation and marketing ability. All people, some Irish, some of Irish descent and some not attend and enjoy the imaginative celebration, projecting to an international audience what it means to be Irish.