There are certain cities in the world that immediately bring to mind a special event. Like New Orleans and Mardi Gras, Rio de Janeiro and Carnival or Munich and Oktoberfest.
Another notable city/holiday combination (especially this week) is Dublin and St. Patrick’s Day.
We checked in with Synergy Global Housing’s EMEA Global Solutions Center in Dublin to get their perspective on the holiday, and find out how a real Irishman celebrates the country’s patron saint. Suzanne Smith, EMEA Managing Director has seen the holiday and the surrounding party evolve over the years while growing up in Ireland.
One Day, Two Types of Parties
Smith recommends that you match your holiday celebration with the type of fun you’re looking to have. There are options for family-friendly events and events for adults with a strong liver.
“If you have young children we have a huge parade in the morning of St. Patrick’s Day in the city center,” Smith said. “The streets are quartered off. There are a lot of country-wide workshops that work all year to build these amazing floats for the parade. It’s gotten bigger and bigger and better and better every year. We will have more than a million people turn out this year.”
The other side of St. Patrick’s Day is the all-day pub crawls for a more mature audience.
Irish law prohibited bars and pubs from being open on the holiday up until the 1970s. Once those laws were rescinded, Dublin began taking its cue from the St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States and centered more of the day’s events on alcohol consumption.
“If you go into the city around lunchtime, there will be lots and lots of people getting drunk,” Smith said. “It’s not a particularly nice place to have your kids around. I personally haven’t been to the parade in years. I try to avoid the city center on St. Patrick’s Day, as do a lot of other Irish people.”
Smith says that while most locals try to avoid the heart of Dublin on the holiday, it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re from out of town and looking for the traditional Irish experience. She adds that the best way to ensure a good time is to prepare for the experience you wish to have.
“Be prepared for a lot of people in a very small area,” Smith said. “Be prepared to pay an extortionate amount for a pint of Guinness. Be prepared for the pubs to be absolutely packed. Dress warm. Be prepared to be surrounded by drunken people out having fun. It’s not the place for the faint-hearted or a teetotaler. If you’re going to go, you will have a good time.”
Do you have any special St. Patrick’s Day traditions? Leave us your favorite customs and memories in the comment section below!