The year was 2019 (also known as 1 Before Corona). Air travel was readily available, you could lick the handrails on any public escalator without fear of illness, and you could get a pint in a busy Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day. A simpler time indeed.
Fast forward twelve months and the middle of March 2020 and the world starts to drastically change. Because if you are going to shut the pubs in Ireland on the busiest drinking day of the year, you’d better have a damn good reason for it…
It feels like it’ll be a long time before any of us will be donning the backpack and hitting the road again. But fear not avid blog followers, through a combination of foresight (1%) and disorganisation (99%), I have over twelve months of ventures to chronicle over the coming weeks to keep you entertained, starting with last year’s trip to Ireland.
Whilst spending Paddy’s Day weekend in Ireland is pretty cliche on the Aussie’s in London circuit, we decided to let the other Anzac’s take over Dublin that weekend and show marginally less banality by hitting up Galway instead.
To get there we flew into Shannon, and whilst we admittedly didn’t spend a lot of time there, it felt like the sort of place that I’d struggle to spend more than a few hours in without resorting to hard drugs or self-harm. Thankfully all we had to do was pick up a hire car there and tank it out of there to our AirBnb.
From there, our first port of call in Galway was to drop our bags and head out to the nearest boozer.
I can’t think of too many better ways to spend the day than being in a cosy pub, with a cold pint of something, some carb-heavy food and live sport (The Six Nations in this case). The Irish do this better than anyone; everywhere we went the food and drink was top notch, and the service warm and welcoming.
The following day was the main event, the traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade. After donning some suitable attire and staking out a good spot near the front, it was time for the festivities to begin.
The parade was quite a spectacle with a great turnout, despite the fact that it was absolutely pissing it down which I gather happens often here. It was great to see so many groups, clubs and societies highlighted, although after an hour it felt like every man and his dog got a run out.
When the Galway Nepalese Judo club swanned past, and with no end in sight, we made the uncultured decision to call it a day and head back to the pub (it was getting dangerously close to the yard arm in any case).
The good thing about the weather in this part of the world being constantly shithouse is that it doesn’t take many gulps of fresh air to clear the head, so in the morning we managed to get our obligatory day of sightseeing in, heading to the Cliffs of Moher followed by a cosy little tea-house.
We also saw this castle on our way through, but given that it was over a year ago and I was nursing a hangover at the time I don’t recall it. The drive overall was pleasant though so seemed getting a hire car was a good way of taking in a few sights and giving the liver a bit of a respite!