thanks, YouTube

I promised that I would post some pictures of the St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin but the parade is so dynamic, still pictures don't really do it justice -- the variety, the colour and all the excitement on the streets. Now they're saying that 650,000 people came!

Check out this video on YouTube. Whoever put it up has done a real nice job of editing, so you get a good idea of the different elements on show!

I thought, after all the excitement, I'd be too broke and too tired to want to much this weekend, but in fact, as most of the events on were free, I'm not that broke. And as for tired? Well, pshaw. I've got Sunday morning to sleep in. There still seem to be lots of visitors to Dublin and the atmosphere outside is pretty lively. I've been invited for a hike around Howth Head on Saturday, and my thinking is that all that healthy outdoors stuff gives me free license to kick up my heels a bit... what do you think?

from the ridiculous to the sublime

I've just come back to the apartment for a little break in the revelry and to pick up a jacket for this evening, and to tell anyone out there to book their tickets for next year! There's such an atmosphere of goodwill and friendliness on the streets right now, and the parade was magnificent. There were giant statues -- I don't know what the technical names is -- and people in costume, and pipe bands and it was all the most curious mixture of staid and sexy, absurd and gorgeous! My greengrocer gave me a tip; he said to make my way to Clanbrassil Street at the end. That's where the parade ends, and where the performers take off their costumes and pack them away. I saw everything up close, because there aren't many onlookers there. Fabulous. I've got some pictures on my camera that I'll put up here soon, but no time now coz I've got some friends waiting anxiously outside the door and we're going to have fun!

Lofty eyrie

I'm perched on my windowledge with a cup of coffee on the radiator and my laptop on my knee, peering out at the river Liffey. It's only 10.30, but there's already a lot of people wandering about, and a general air of expectation. The sun is not "splitting the stones" as some people had predicted, but it's quite warm, and I think it's going to be a fantastic day. I'm gonna get dressed now, find a way to attach my (real, live) shamrock to my label and head out. I'm meeting some friends, and we're going to kick the day off with a big, greasy Irish Breakfast. Because whatever you do on St Patrick's Day DOESN'T COUNT!!!

What a great saint, absolving sins even as they happen ;-)

Bacchanalia, Irish style

All over the world, cultures celebrate spring, and Ireland is no exception. Of course, St Patrick's Day is also about the man himself, Ireland's patron saint, and all the legends about him but it is also about Irish people hanging up their winter coats (OK, even if it still is a bit chilly) and celebrating spring. It's been more or less like a party everywhere since Friday and while I guess some of the locals might be a bit used to it or even jaundiced, it is nice to see so many people having a good time. There seem to be lots and lots of Spanish and Italian tourists nattily dressed in winter gear wandering (and wondering) about town in a state of bemused excitement. With their usual touch for the surreal, the Irish have been holding odd but great events. Like the Flash Tea Party, in Merrion Square, attended by yours truly and a couple of friends. Great stuff, as the Irish say. Tomorrow, I'm going to a mass ceili in Stephen's Green.

Here's a picture I took of the fountain in Stephen's Green a week or two ago. The smart money is on at least some of the revellers ending up IN the fountain! Hopefully, it won't be me.

I've just realised, anxiously, that I don't actually HAVE any green clothes. Maybe it won't matter? My greengrocer is selling live shamrock plants so I guess I'll buy one of those and carry it about, or pin a bit to my lapel. Well, it is all exciting and I actually wish I had someone visiting from back home right now so that I could be more unashamed about how worked up I'm getting!! With my Irish buddies, I have to be all like, "Oh yeah, might wander out, see if there's anything going on..." while in actual fact, I am pretty sure I will hardly be able to sleep with excitement!! Not to mention all the noise drifting up from the street :-)

And then of course there's the noble Irish tradition of being able to eat or drink in abundance whatever you gave up for lent. Apparently, most Irish people still give stuff up, even if they're not religious. Well, I didn't give up anything. But I think I'll eat and drink too much anyway, seeing as how it's the thing to do 'n all!!

Because there's a lot going on, I've had to prioritise and choose what I think I'll like best. But if anyone is reading this and making last-minute plans there are some great sports events in Croke Park. I've seen Gaelic Games before, and even as someone who's not that sporty (ice-skating aside) they are pretty damn exciting -- and they date all the way back to the Iron Age, which is quite something.

If you're in Dublin, watch out for an overexcited Newfoundlander in black with a large, green shamrock plant safety-pinned to her coat. That's me. And if you're going for a pint, I'll have whatever you are having.