March 17. St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone knows that, right?

In New Orleans, we find any excuse to have a parade. Not only do the riders throw beads and doubloons to the onlookers, but they also throw cabbages, carrots, onions, and various other vegetables.

My friend Claire and I used to take the girls to the parade; then we’d go home and make a nice soup with our loot while the kids played and the menfolk fished.

Friends at City Park

Jillian and Dana at City Park in Spring

Claire and I had all kinds of fun together with our children. Then Claire moved away and life took a different turn. *sigh*

I should learn to cherish these changes because they herald new experiences that I might otherwise miss.

In late spring 2008, I led students on a tour to European cities, and one of those cities was Dublin, Ireland.

It was cold. Not just Southerner cold. It was so cold that my spring coat, cardigan, and cotton scarf did not keep me warm.

Dublin 2008

Jillian and I freezing to death in the Dublin spring.

So I went to a shop across the street from Trinity College and found the most magnificent hand-knit wool turtleneck sweater. Wool. In May. Fancy that!

Then we hopped on over to the college where the library did its best to astound me.

The smell was what I imagine heaven to smell like – old books. (I still haven’t gotten a digital reader. I just can’t imagine not having a complete sensory experience!)

Lovely Old Books at Trinity College Library

Postcard of Lovely Old Books at Trinity College Library (No Photos Allowed!)

The library was my favorite sight in Dublin.

Close-up of the Books

Close-up of the Books

As enchanting as the library was, a jaunt to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the pubs, right? These are lively, family-oriented haunts with delicious Irish cuisine. No need for awkward-looking green food to prove your affinity for Erin!

Dublin Pubs

Dublin Pubs

This postcard of the world-renowned writers from Ireland proved to be too much for this weak writer-junkie to resist. It complemented quite nicely the plaques that were revealed to us as we followed in the footsteps of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

Irish Writers

Oh, imagine my heart’s delight when I witnessed at St. Patrick’s Cathedral a memorial to Jonathan Swift, complete with a first edition of A Modest Proposal! 

Jonathan Swift St. Patrick's Cathedral Dublin

“Erin Go Bragh,” I cleverly said to our tour guide as I stepped onto the bus. I figured he would be well-familiar with this expression. However, he said that he had never heard it before. “Does it really mean ‘Ireland forever’?” I asked.

He shrugged and answered, “Yes, you could translate it that way.”

“Ok, one more question. Do Irish people really say ‘Top of the morning to ya!’?”

He shook his head and opined that no Irish man, woman, or child ever says this. No, only Americans trying to impersonate the Irish say such a thing.

No matter how the Irish say “good morning,” we had a chilly awesome time in Dublin, and I feel nothing but fondness for Ireland and her people.  A once-new experience that I cherish now as a memory.

It will never be too soon to visit Ireland again.

Stop reading here if you don’t want to see ridiculosity.


(Will you forgive my need to feel a little bit goofy on St. Patrick’s Day?)

St. Patrick's Day Socks