At 5:40AM, on the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, I met seven tired friends on the first floor of our Lupton N-block accommodation. We had an adventure planned, and it started at the Leeds train station at 6:30.
Things weren’t off to a great start when we got word at 6:25 that our 6:30 train would not be arriving – it had hit a bird beefy enough to smash the front window. This being the first train of many scheduled for that day, we immediately begin adjusting our plans and accounting for the delay. We took three train rides before getting on an impressive ferry in Holyhead, Wales, bound for Dublin, Ireland. Aboard the massive ferry, some of us caught up on our sleep while others ventured onto the top deck amid the biting cold winds.
We arrived in Dublin city center around 7:00PM, and the streets were already lit up with emerald green and crowds of people poured from pub to pub. It wasn’t long before we caught up with the party and joined the fun. Traveling with a group of eight can be difficult, especially when the entire city of Dublin is out on the streets. We were drawn into one particular pub by the sound of traditional Irish music, but it was the Guinness that kept us there.
Upstairs, warm incandescent light bulbs hung from exposed wooden rafters over an energetic crowd. Outside, around the block, an acoustic artist held the attention of an entire pub with his incredible vocals and impressive range of ability. Our band of foreigners explored the area known as Temple Bar late into the early morning. We had no accommodation booked for that night, and so when the pubs began to close, we sought refuge in a 24-7 McDonalds, and soon snow began to fall.
Staying up all night in Dublin proved more challenging than we had planned. A small blizzard roaring outside kept us confined indoors. As the night turned to morning we were booted from one shop too the next. One-by-one, we would get up and get the next cup of tea or coffee, for the warmth as much as the caffeine. Nothing in those cups was so energizing as the sun when it began to illuminate the snow-covered streets outside.
As the sun rose, so did we. From our McDonalds chairs, with tired feet, we marched to the hostel we had booked for the following night and hoped that they would let us in. Hard to say whether it was kindness or empathy that persuaded the receptionist to go sleep in the basement game room on that early Sunday morning. A few of us on the couches, with the majority of us sprawled out on bean-bags, we had survived St. Paddy’s day in Dublin. This was only the first night on what was sure to be a wacky four-day adventure.
Thanks for the read,