One thing we knew we were going to miss, when leaving Ireland, was the craic. And, what better atmosphere to experience the famous Irish craic than participating in the St Patrick’s Day celebrations … in Dublin.
We have seen many parades, drunken people, smell of crappy burgers, content of innards shared around the ol’ streets of Dublin, fireworks (not during the rescission) and the queuing on Dublin Bus. It was all in a good spirit, and people didn’t mind. We were all too busy enjoying the day.
Now, moving to US, probably the largest contingent of Irish people outside the Emerald Isle itself, would surely bring along some interesting St Patrick celebrations. The Americans always do things bigger and better.
Despite living within driving distance of the Big Apple, we opted not to go into the city to watch the parade, as it moved slowly down 5th Avenue. Not easy to get into Manhatten and not easy maneuvering around crowds with 2 kids and a stroller.
However, we decided to watch the parade in Pearl River, which has a huge population of Irish people. Apparently, the St Paddy parade in Pearl River is the 2n largest parade outside New York, only topped by Chicago.
We made our way to Pearl River, where we met some good friends for an Irish breakfast session. Now, in the old days, this would’ve been a few pints of the black stuff, sausages, pudding (black and white), eggs, hash browns, rashers, beans, tomatos and toasts.
But, because I’m not a sensible parent, I decided to stick with just the breakfast and coffee.
We haven’t had a proper Irish breakfast in months, so this was like a feast and I ended up with 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and probably 6th servings. I just couldn’t help myself.
Shortly after lunch, we made our way towards the main street, and we greeted by about 55,000 thousand overly enthusiastic people, all dressed in green. The noise level were amazing. People laughing, chatting and drinking. A proper Irish celebration. The craic away from home – excellent.
The weather was brilliant. Only 22 degrees and clear blue sky.
The parade started just as we arrived. Unlike the Dublin parade, this parade was primarily high school marching bands, dance academies (Irish dancing of course), drum and pipe bands, police + military, and various local celebrities. All in all, it was a two hour parade, accompanied by loud cheers, laughter and chatter.
People were screaming as they saw their county being presented on large banners. The sounds of the Irish twang was all around us. It was just like being back home – except the weather was fantastic and the parade did not have some suspicious floats or interesting themed characters walking around. It was all about the craic and celebrating being Irish.
We loved it. The kids loved it.
What can I say, other than, you gotta go next year. It was bleedin’ deadly!