St. Patrick's Day in Dublin

Dublin, Ireland - April 15, 2010

March 17th, 2010 and where on this planet would I most want to be? Dublin of course, at the St. Patrick’s Day parade. I got up fairly early and headed downtown to claim a spot on the parade route. I knew it would be busy, but truly, I had no idea.

Once I found a spot, I decided to stop and lay claim. It was up against a retaining fence, a place to lean on during the next two or three hours. It proved to be a great spot to watch the parade itself, but also a wonderful position to people watch. Most of the streets were now blocked to car traffic but the humanity continued to flow at an alarming rate. Crossing Point M proved to be a ‘character crossing’ for some of the most interesting people and faces in Dublin. Often there was a blurring between the decked out citizenry and those actually participating in the parade.
The parade started and what a parade! The Irish take parading to an all-new level for me. And the excitement was extraordinary! The marching bands, from all over including one from North Carolina and of course the superb bands of Ireland, were present throughout the parade. The animals, those huge Irish horses, police dogs and a remarkable Irish Wolf Hound, (or was that a small horse?) were great crowd pleasers.
And then the colours and the costumes of the paraders!! The floats were remarkable in their variety! And if you will notice they were all people powered. Now this was a long parade and these Herculean pedlers aided by pushers would manage the whole route. The multinational feel of this parade was ever present. But this is something that I noticed throughout Dublin. It is a very multicultural city where I might have been expecting more of a quaint Irish town. 
The time it took for the parade to go by my spot passed way too quickly. I loved this thing!! When the parade was over, the people did not go home. They stayed on the streets to party and celebrate this national holiday with passion! Walking through the streets and soaking it all in was one of the highlights of this remarkable tour of Ireland. While there was a police presence, it was not intrusive. The party would continue well into the evening and I think all the revellers had a famous time.

Michael Townsend