Google the best festivals in the world and on most lists you will find the music and drink-fuelled St Patrick's Day celebrations. Of course, celebrated all over the world but none does it better than Dublin city, Ireland. I was lucky enough to be home on the Emerald Isle this year coinciding with the celebrations and it was once again a fantastic weekend of music, craic and merriment.
This year, however, I found myself looking at the festival from a tourists perspective given my years of travelling under the guise of Virtually Nomadic.
So.. if not from Ireland and are coming over for a pint to help us celebrate Saint Patrick's, here are 10 tips to help you get the most from the Irish people, Dublin city and the festival itself.
1. IT'S A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
Irish people love day drinking. When it comes to Saint Paddy's, the pubs are alive and kicking by noon, so get a good Irish breakfast and set yourself up for the day. No need to start doing shots. We Irish prefer pints because one day is not enough. If you're in Dublin for Paddy's it begins on the plane ride in and ends on the plane ride home.
Saint Patricks Weekend begins Friday evening and finished around Tuesday, so pace yourself
2. The Pubs
Following on from point 1. We love a pint and love a pub. The craic is with the people and the atmosphere of the poor man's university - the Irish pub is where you'll find it. Settle in with your pint, chat to whoever can hear ya and go with the flow. It's the best way in Ireland.
As mentioned, the best of Ireland, in general, is the people. We love conversation and chatting shite. This is done in pubs and when the pubs close we tend to then go to late pubs. I myself have lived in Dublin and have done so as a young man and still never really went to the real 'nightclubs' of Dublin. Late bars where space is considered a dance floor - sure, but the proper big nightclubs - never. Am I saying, don't go, not at all, if that is your thing, go for it. Just know that it is not the best of Ireland or very Irish. No one really comes to Dublin for the nightclub scene, pub scene - yes, nightclubs - no.
4. Learn a song
Whether you can hold a tune or not, learn yourself a pub song. Doesn't have to be Irish, even something universal that everyone knows. If you spend enough time in Irish pubs there will no doubt be a moment when you can give it a blast. Nothing gives a better buzz than singing in a pub and having musicians join in with you. Choose the right song and you could get the whole place going!
5. THE PARADE
Hmmm, better watch my words. All I will say is I have never seen it and I don't many Irish who have
6. Never judge a pub by its cover
You would be very shocked at the 'fronts' of some of the best pubs in Dublin. Some look like they are tiny. Some look dilapidated and some look downright unappealing. All I can say is walk in and have a look. Many of the oldest pubs in Dublin are basement pubs or the backs of their pubs are much, much larger than they appear. Many tourists miss these pubs heading straight to the more expensive area of Templebar. (Which of course also has fantastic pubs and the craic will be mighty there, however, like every European city, our city centre part is also our most expensive)
7. Don't be Shy
I am not being biased when I say the best part of Ireland is the people. It really is the charm of the country. Dublin does not have a Disney world or Eiffel tower. It does not have the same Tourist attractions as other European cities and we all know about the weather. So to get the most from Ireland you must avail of its best part - its people and their love of conversation. You step into a taxi in England and you say your destination through a small slide. In Dublin, you sit in the front with the taxi man. Ask him the craic, ask him for a joke, chat to the old man beside you in the bar. Irish people don't mind this and in truth we love it. We are a nation founded by poets and writers and are lovers of literature and wit in all its form. Revel in this and ask and listen and learn all about our history, culture and people from the man next to you.
8. The Round
A round is simply when someone buys you a drink, and you buy them one back. This is usually done in groups.
In Ireland, we love a round. Seems a simple thing but some cultures have it and some don't. In Ireland, the relationship with the round goes a little deeper. If you happen to join a group of Irish people and one decides to buy you a drink, this, in essence, is an acceptance of the group. A small way of saying you can stay here and drink with us. If you don't buy a drink in return, nothing will be said, but you probably won't be in the next round and in the end, as a tourist, this will probably be your loss.
9. Self Deprecating Humour
I'm assuming if coming to Dublin for Paddies then you know what to expect, but just to spell it out - "we're only messing with ya".
Irish people have a funny sense of humour. A little dark and very self-deprecating. We love 'slagging' people and ourselves. If you can't laugh at yourself, don't enter an Irish pub. I know we are perhaps a little rough around the edges, a little loud and little crass and of course, this fantastic side of our nature is only heightened during the booze-fuelled weekend of Saint Paddy's. So if you are the type of guy who is going to get mad at having some beer spilt on you or the type of girl who dislikes terrible chat up lines, I'd stay at home. It's all about having a laugh and at the end of the day, "we're only messing". 🙂
“They all laughed when I said I'd become a comedian. Well, they're not laughing now.”
10. Irish Sport
The most popular sports in Ireland, unlike nearly every other country in the world, are our own Irish sports. They are called Gaelic football and hurling. Ask around are any important matches taking place during your stay. You could a) Go and see a game live in Croke Park (which is an amazing experience) or b) simply head to the pub and get involved and watch these fiercely competitive, fast-paced sports.
Hurling is a fantastic sport and one most people outside of Ireland have never heard of. One of the worlds most ancient sports and also the fastest field sport on earth. Pick a team, throw on a bet, grab a pint and enjoy the atmosphere and craic in the pub while watching this great game
Thinking of coming to Ireland for Paddy's?
Get in touch! I'll help you as best as we can or maybe even meet you there!