St. Patrick’s Day for me signifies the beginning of spring. The air is always a bit warmer, and the sun used to always be splitting the stones.
The weather over the past number of years has turned out slightly differently, but I’ll always remember that one exceptionally warm St. Patrick’s Day. My most vivid memory is of myself and my Dad, where we’re walking down Nassau Street, heading towards the Parade, in matching leprechaun hats (absolutely morto for him), and I distinctly remember having to take off my jumper, as the sun was more intense than it should of been for that time of year.
As a child, my Dad would always insist on taking me into the Parade, something that stemmed from his Father taking him. It became a lovely Daddy-Daughter tradition that my Mother was excluded from. Something I think she was secretly grateful for, as loud crowds really aren’t her thing. She preferred to watch the Parade in the comfort of our living room with a nice cuppa, and she would always meet up with us after for a slap up roast dinner, and we would enthusiastically tell her everything she missed! This set up suited me perfectly, I got the best of both worlds; an overly enthusiastic Dad, that would have me on his shoulders, probably blocking 20 people, just so I could see all those American majorettes and colourful floats, and then a nice family dinner after.
It was always something I really looked forward to as a little girl. We would get the number 11 bus (or the number 63 before the route was renamed) in, before they stopped running to accommodate for the parade. Once we reached town we would pop into McDonald’s to pick up the mandatory Shamrock Shake, and we would head towards O’Connell Street, linking each other with ridiculous novelty items on our heads! Once we reached our destination and picked a good spot, my Dad would have me perched on his shoulders - I’d say he was most uncomfortable, but put on a brave face for the entirety of the parade! I know I’m biased, but it was the best seat in the house. As I got a little bit older (and heavier!) he made sure to push me through the crowds so I was at the railings, and he would stand back and keep a close eye on me, while I soaked up everything.
Even now that I’m a grown women, I still get that urge to link my Da, wear a ridiculous hat and head towards the parade. Whenever I think of Dublin, I always think of it on that warm, sunny March day, where everything looked even more prettier in the sunlight and when the atmosphere was nothing short of electric.
For me the Parade holds nothing but fantastic memories of very happy days, in my very happy childhood, and I for one can’t wait to pass on that tradition when I have children, and take them to the Parade while sporting the most ridiculous leprechaun hat I can find!