Trip Start Mar 03, 2011
Trip End Jun 03, 2011

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Flag of Ireland  , County Dublin,
Friday, March 18, 2011

Everything about this day was perfect and amazing and epic.  I'm just gonna start off by saying that.  It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

I woke up at 8am because I accidentally passed out early but still managed to sleep a long time...  Chris and I didn't plan on meeting up in the hall until 9am, so I just got up, grabbed some green glitter nail polish, Lord of the Rings, and walked into the hall.  The first thing I hear is live Irish music.  Breakfast was in full swing and there was a live band.  Add coffee, and I just woke up in effing HEAVEN.  I just sat in a window seat, painting my nails, reading a good book and enjoyin my coffee to the accompaniment of awesome music.  Sigh.

Chris got up at 9am and it was breakfast time.  This is Part 2 of the awesome start to our day.  For the past couple weeks we'd been subsisting on the toast and instant coffee from Paddywagon. This hostel, Globetrotter's, includes a full Irish breakfast in the cost of the dorm rooms per night.  So that meant a feast- eggs, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, toast, fresh fruit, cereal, real juice, real coffee, bread and jam.... damn.  DAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN.  So GOOD!

After that we got greened up and headed out to meet our friends from the tour.  We got to the parade on O'Connell Street at 10:45am... it didn't officially start until noon, and it didn't actually make it to our segment of the route until almost 12:45pm.  That's a lot of waiting.  As early as we got there, we still didn't have great views.  I'm so thankful we got there when we did, though.  It was a mad house.  We managed to secure a spot behind a news camera platform... there was a space right behind it that left a four foot horizontal view of the parade passing by... and if you sat/stood atop the railing you could see over the cameraman's shoulder to the oncoming parade.  That's the best we could get.  Thousands upon thousands of people fared much worse than us.  We were packed in body to body like sardines in a can... I had thoughts about stampedes running through my head... damn that would suck.  We'd be screwed.  It was funny to see the creative ways in which people in the back managed to still get views of the parade... One guy was sitting on a bunch of signs... his ass HAD to hurt.  Another girl was standing on top of a phone booth.  Dozens of people were on statues.  I have no idea how they all got up there.  Myself.. I sat on a barrier.  My ass was cramping and I lost circulation, but I saw more of the parade then poor Chris.  Some Indian guy kept shoving into him tryin to film the parade with his video camera. Chris was utterly annoyed and wouldn't budge.  Just to be passive aggressive, he purposely tried to screw up the guy's filming.  lol.  Go, Chris!  That's what rude people get!  Anyway, the crowd was a sea of green... Everyone had green on.

So the parade finally starts (St. Patrick leading the way in sunglasses) and we quickly discover we have nooooooooooo idea what this thing is about.  I'm sure there was some sort of cultural singificance to the costumes and floats, but I'll be damned if I can figure them out.  I mean... I just spent the past 2 weeks in Ireland, and nothing seemed particularly Irish about the parade!  It looked like someone raided the Cirque du Soleil costume department!  It was still neat to see the costumes- I'll give them that.  Since I had no idea what it was about, I made up my own captions and explanations in my pictures.  =)  Notable visitors were Gandalf the Grey, potato chips and Fawx the Phoenix.

After the parade we headed northeast to Croke Park to watch some Gaelic Games finals.  We missed half of the first game, which was Hurling... or as we like to call it... Crazy Stick Ball.  The second game was Gaelic Football.  So... I've never watched either game (except part of the Gaelic Football on TV for a few minutes last time I was in Ireland)... but here's what we could figure out.  Hurling is like a combo of soccer, hockey and football.  The positions and movement of the game are exactly like soccer and hockey.  The scoring is like this... you get three points if it goes into the net... and one point if it goes between the two poles above the net.  You have a hurley stick (sorta resembles a hockey stick but shorter and fatter and rimmed with metal)... which is used to carry and hit the ball.... and whack the opponents over the head when you're pissed off.  You can pick up the ball to hit it... and you can carry it for a short period of time (maybe something like 3 steps or 3 seconds... we weren't sure).  Highest score wins.  Now, Gaelic Footbal is exactly like Hurling, without the sticks and the ball is the size of a soccer ball.  You can still pick it up for brief periods of time to run with it (you just have to bounce it or kick it every so often) or kick it across the field.  Again, the violence in this game was particularly amusing.  The team members would completely knock each other over or kick someone, and then the ref would call a yellow card and the teammember would throw his hands in the air like "WHAT DID I DO?!?!?!"  Also, just as fun as the game itself, was when a ball would get kicked into the stands.  There was a pack of boys just waiting each time it happened... as soon as one landed, a boy would grab it and make a mad fucking dash across the stands, dodging and ducking stadium employees like a bat out of hell.  They wanted their free ball, damnit.  It was hilarious!

After the game, we all bought dinner (Chris and I bought a pizza) and drinks to get the pre-party started at Paddy's Palace.  We hung out for a good few hours just eating and drinking and laughing.  Good fun.  =)  After that, we hit up a bar/club in a hotel for the sheer majority of the night.  I loved this bar actually.  Every two or three songs they'd play an Irish song... except it was sped up for dancing/clubbing music.  It was amazing... a whole new Irish musical concept to me.  Yes, I jumped and danced.  I had a lot to drink... a lot...  Shots... pints... yeah.  At one point we tried to go across the river to Temple Bar (the main drinking arena... it has the highest concentration of pubs and bars imaginable)... but it was a madhouse.  Every building was overflowing well past their fire codes, and there was no getting in.  So we went back to the first bar and danced around some more.  The club opened up downstairs, so that meant more drinking and dancing.  Kinda funny how the only time I've ever danced in clubs always seems to be in Ireland....  Chris and I finally stumbled home sometime around 2am.

Today, Chris has an epic hangover but I feel wonderful.  So I've spent the last few hours updating the blog while he rests at the hostel.  It's a rest day.  Hopefully he'll be well enough to go out for dinner with our tour friends later on tonight.  Chris, "This is all your fault you know..."  Me, "What?  Why?"  Chris, "You said that going home anything less than plastered on St. Paddy's Day would be shameful."  Me, "....yeah... but the important thing is you can go home without shame."  =)

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