March 18, 2008

St Patrick's Day Galway

So I set off today for the parade with my woolen coat on and some shamrock pinned to my collar. It was cold and crisp, like it has been pretty much every day we've been in Ireland, but it didn't look like it'd rain (unlike every other day).

Those of you who are good Catholics, or just informed about these sorts of things will know that the Church actually moved St Patrick's day this year to Sat 15 of March, 'cause the Holy Week (week leading up to easter) is already all booked up, but 17 of March was still the day of the parade.

People have been getting geared up for it since we've been here with shops all decorated with Irish flags, shamrocks and leprechauns. On the radio on our way to Galway the DJ was getting people to text or email in things about what St Patrick would banish today now that the snakes are gone. One of the main things was a town which apparently always has traffic jams delaying traffic trying to pass through it for a good few hours. It was pretty silly.

On my way into town I saw several groups of people in green with "Kiss me I'm Irish" novelty ties, green glittery shamrock headbands, or like me, with a bit of fresh shamrock pinned to either a hat or coat. Heaps of people had those large "jester" type hats in green white and orange and a few people had green spray painted hair. A highlight for me was a pair of boys in Big green hats and fake orange beards! Go the leprechaun outfits!

The parade was to start at 12 and I walked in nice and early and secured myself a nice spot next to a family of redheads with a good 15min to spare. At 12 regular traffic was still going passed and the Gardai (police) had only begun to erect some barriers for people to stay behind. By the time the parade started at 12.30, the street was packed and my little group who had waited so long were quite annoyed at those who were late and kept either standing in front of us or pushing passed us to cross the road.

There was the regular sort of thing, the marching bands, the kids martial arts group, the mayor driving by in a classic car, foreign community floats etc. Then there was what made it a St Patrick's

Special "Irish" floats (ie "floats" not seen in NZ) included a group of kids boxing, 2 large groups of hurlers (junior divisions, they were all only about 1m tall!), a bunch of kids marching along playing recorders and whistles, a large Polish contingent, a Traveller group.

There was a large group that all seemed to be part of a street performers club that did this bit with trees being attacked by fire (including a fire-breather) and then the fire being put in place by a group on an olde style fire engine. They were possibly my favourite, although a few kids were frightened by the actual fire.

After the parade I wandered a bit around the mostly closed town (it's a public holiday here) and grabbed some food. Went back to the B&B we're staying at ( and had a chat with one of the hosts. I watched a bit of hurling with him. It was the finals for the club nationals (i think?). He didn't think much of the parade, said there'd been better. I still liked it.

I've since been up in our room, sorting through the many photos we've taken. I have an album dedicated to the parade! There is still much more sorting to go as almost nothing has been done with the Thai pictures.

I won't be hitting the pubs tonight. It's not something I enjoy doing on my own. Beau is working until tomorrow morning, and then we head back to Cork. I've really enjoyed our time in Galway. It's a really cool town. Beau and I spent yesterday doing some of the tourist stuff (St Nicholas' church, Spanish Arch, Nimmo's Pier etc) but we didn't take any pictures as the camera was flat and we didn't realise until we went to take some (d'oh). We've already decided that we want to come again though, some time when Beau *isn't* working all the time.

Tomorrow we head back to Cork, to finish sorting out arrangements for moving into our new place (sharing an apartment in the middle of town) and to meet a friend of Morgue's. Then we're off to Edinburgh for a week of sight seeing and a weekend of RPG (well, I don't actually plan to play that much, I'm going to be on crew for the Con and plan to "network").

I'm not sure what our internet will be like in Edinburgh, so I may not post until after that. If you do spot me online on gmail or on skype, feel free to say hi!

Point of Fashion: Granny's Birthday
Current Obsession: hot shower

Posted by giffy at March 18, 2008 06:19 AM