I always love a good reason to celebrate, and holidays are no exception! Partaking in traditions and cultural events with my Spanish, Polish, and Turkish friends have been not only fun, but also enlightening. At the beginning of 2012, my five American friends that were living in Europe and myself, began to plan a holiday celebration to remember: we would be going to Dublin, Ireland to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Not only would be dressing up in green, and enjoying the Irish shenanigans, but we would also be celebrating my friend Stephanie’s birthday, which is also on March 17th!

Mike, Neil, Antone, Brian, Stephanie, Kara (Stephanie’s sister who was visiting from Arizona), and myself stayed at one of the most gorgeous hotels, “The Brasserie”. It was originally an old boarding school for girls, in the upscale Bewley District.

Mike, Neil, Brian, Stephanie, Kara, me, and Antone at the hotel

Our amazing hotel

Though the city itself wasn’t anything extraordinary, its hospitable and friendly people were top-notch! Everyone from the cab drivers, waiters, hotel staff, and the locals were so affable, despite the chaos that came with the holiday celebration. One afternoon the BSU boys and me took a tour to the west coast of Ireland to visit the countryside and Cliffs of Moher. Despite the persistent rain, the phenomenon of the cliffs jetting out 700 feet above the crashing waves was absolutely breathtaking. Tiptoeing as close as I could on the slick rocks towards the edge and peering down to the sea below me, I had never felt something to exciting, scary, and exhilarating!

Antone, Neil, me, and Mike at the Cliffs of Moher, before the guys ventured beyond the fenced in area to the more dangerous area of the cliffs. I stayed dry in the museum instead!

The cliffs had the greenest grass I had ever seen!

On the morning of Saint Patrick’s Day, we made sure to get up early enough so we could claim our spots for the famous parade. By the time we got there, the parade route was already lined with spectators. Neil and Mike, being the adventurous spirits that they are, decided that the best opportunity for viewing the parade would be from the top of O’Connell Monument itself. Us girls embraced the same idea, but only went as far as the top steps. From there, we watched the most spectacular parade filled with ornate costumes, floats, and performances.

Scaling the monument! Such delinquents!

Check out the detail on those costumes!

Massive parade crowd

The week in Dublin wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Guinness Brewery where I was able to master the pouring of a Guinness Pint!

I even received a signed certificate verifying I have mastered the art of powering the perfect pint!

Each evening we made our way to the Temple Bar District and spent just as much time walking around soaking in the madness of Saint Patrick’s Day as we did relaxing in the pubs enjoying our cold brews. This was by far the best European holiday celebration I experienced, which was made possible by the most amazing company!

Temple Bar District

The broskis out on the town

The ladies with our pretty roses

To sum up Ireland: friendly, traditionally deep-rooted

May the luck of the Irish be with you!