I’m a bit late typing this so forgive me! After coming back from London, a had a whirlwind day or two to get ready to come back home to Ireland for a visit. I had half thought of writing some posts on the ferry but as it was quite rough, I wasn’t really in the mood for that!
I have only ever spent one St. Patrick’s Day out of Co.Clare. It was in 2009 in Cork, when I was in the middle of my 3rd year exams. I had an exam on the 16th and one on 18th, so it wasn’t feasible to go home for St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t hugely enjoy the parade in Cork, so I was a bit hesitant about going to another big city celebration. I enjoy my small village parade, which I like to say is just full of tractors, trailers, and chickens.
However, the day in London started off glorious, it was up around 20 degrees, so I was optimistic about how the day would pan out. I arrived with my brother at Trafalgar square just before 2 o clock, so we had missed the parade part of things. Honestly though I wasn’t too upset about that! We had to queue for about 15-20 minutes to get into the square, as it was already choc-a-block. Once in, we more or less headed straight to comedy tent for a while. There we saw the end of Damien Clark’s act, Barry Murphy, Christiane O’Mahony and Willie White. I would have gladly stayed for more comedy as I was enjoying it so much but there was so much more to explore!
Around the rest of the square, as well as the main tent, there was stalls for different Irish brands like Keogh’s crisps, Kerrygold, Jelly Bean Factory, and an Irish cheese stall, an Irish dancing tent, plenty of stalls to get beers in as well! There was also designated Irish speaks that you could talk to as gaelige if the mood struck.
After the comedy tent, I saw a bit of Jig and then Kila played some music. During that time, a circle formed and some children did some Irish dancing!
After Kila, the Late Late House Band played. Hearing the Late Late theme song being played in the middle of Trafalgar is surreal! They played a few songs but were also joined on stage by a few guests, including Mundy and The London Irish Pensioners Choir.
Final act was a big one, Riverdance! I was excited about this, I’ve wanted to see it for years and especially now since this year marks the 20 years anniversary. Everyone in the crowd loved it, even if it was only on a short time.
My videos aren’t the best for all these things but they still give you a good idea of the atmosphere! Everyone was in such a happy mood, and I think I only saw one fight (that wasn’t too serious) and some idiots jumping into the fountain. And falling and mauling themselves! The whole crowd went ‘oooohhh’ when they fell. And then just started to ignore them after that.
After, I went to dinner with my brother and cousins around Leicester Square. My table had a spare chair and so we offered the seat to an older man who had nowhere to sit. Turns out he had moved 50 years ago from Belfast (but still had a bit of an accent!) and had had a family. His wife had died a few years ago and 2 of his daughters now live abroad. He was a sweet man, who told us about how years ago he used to drink in Dublin with the Dubliners and told us jokes. He also offered to buy us a round of drinks before he left but there’s no way we could have let him do that, even if we weren’t about to leave ourselves. After eating, we met more family down in Elephant and Castle before heading back up to North London just after 11. Despite not drinking, I was exhausted the next day, I think a combination of the the heat, the long day and not drinking enough water left me tired and a bit dehydrated. Though I am very pleased I went, I really enjoyed the day, which in a way surprised me. Who knows where I’ll be next year for St. Patrick’s Day but hopefully I’ll still have a good time!