In the Name of Paddy

There are several events throughout the year that excite kids such as birthdays, Christmas, random fun fairs and shows.  Most of these cost a fair bit of money, but I love seeing my kids happy.

There’s one annual event that takes place on March 17 every year. It is becoming a global excuse to drink. It was ‘invented’ by the Irish who are known for the good craic and for being a great bunch of drinkers … I’m not stating that they are alcoholics, but they know how to have a good time.

I’ll give you a few hints.

  • Thousands of people gather in one location for several hours
  • Tired legs and screaming kids
  • The majority are dressed in green and/or are wearing traditional Irish dresses. Most people are dressed as leprechauns
  • Everyone watches a parade that has absolutely nothing to do with the theme, but resembles a “Rio Carnival” (except it’s half naked leprechauns!)

The annual event is known as St. Patrick’s Day.

The history behind Paddy Day is fairly boring.  In a nutshell, long long long ago, Patrick’s (then bishop) travelled to Ireland in an attempt to convert the wild hairy people to Christianity. He used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the wild Irish Celts.

Today we celebrate St. Patrick’s by having long parades. We take the day off and we drink Guinness.  The latter is obviously only for us adults…unless the kids are ill. (!)

We took the kids into Dublin city centre to see their first Paddy parade, and we had been invited to view the parade from an office building overlooking O’Connell Street.  Fantastic VIP seats.

For the first time in our short family history, we ventured into town using the public transport.  This might seem fairly straight forward, but it does become somewhat interesting when attempting to drag three kids (6, 5 and 1) onto the bus. You see the bus only stops for 6 seconds.

Imagine, my wife carrying the youngest in a chest strapped baby carrier and me attempting to get the 5 and 6 year old dudes onto the bus, while being squeezed aside by ignorant teenagers going to the parade.  I ended up holding the doors open with my feet, while dragging my daughter through my legs and at the same time holding my son under the arm.  And then the fecking bus ticket wouldn’t work, until I realised that I was turning it the wrong way.

Anyway, we got on and the 20 minute trip into town was an adventure for the kids, as the scenery flew by. They loved the change of not being strapped into a car seat… FREEEEDOM!

We had to walk the last mile with the three kids because most of the city streets were closed off. Again, not a huge distance or challenge, but it’s limited how long you can carry two kids – one under each arm – because their legs are tired.  Something tells me they were making this up!

From our VIP seats, we (or more correctly, the kids) saw the build up and the actual parade.  Us adults were busy chatting to each other, while drinking coffee, and the odd time watching the colourful parade go by.  Even the loud music and sounds from the parade were muffled, so we didn’t have to scream to talk.

With three kids, you always have to be alert, and especially when the youngest (11 months) is being breastfed.  The other two know when I’m not watching and they might just attempt 1 or 2 tricks.

But not that day.  That day they were focused on the parade and all the funny creations walking by.  Unfortunately they kept drinking juice and water, which only meant one thing – toilet visits!

I probably spent half the time running to/from the toilet, and interesting enough, they always had to go in turns, and not at the same time.  It’s amazing how many toilet trips a 5 and 6 year old child needs to do during a two hour parade.  I barely saw the parade, but I got loads of exercise from running up/down the stairs.

As the parade finished, we started the long journey back to the suburbs, using the public transportation system.  For some reason, the walk back to the bus was easy (ish), but mayhem started when we had to find our bus among 40 other busses and hundreds of passengers who were going home too.

The kids were exhausted, but had a brilliant day.  Most of us dosed off on the journey home and reluctantly left the comfort of the seat to get off at our stop.

I was absolutely knackered from being the stair-master, water-boy and mule.

Happy Paddy y’all!  I need a pint of Guinness.

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