Learning London: Celebrating St. Patrick

We’ve had a lovely St. Patrick’s weekend here in central London.

Yesterday, we visited the National Portrait Gallery to see “Only Human” by photographer Martin Parr. After lunch at Chipotle, some gelato and hot chocolate to honour my dad, and a quick break at The Courthouse Hotel, we got to the Photographers’ Gallery for the last hour (for free entry!) to view a show I’d found don Time Out and another to boot.

We ended Saturday at Backyard Comedy with four hilarious comedians.

Our Art Fund pass and memberships with Tate and Backyard are really paying off!

We learned a lot this weekend about being British, thanks in no small part to Martin Parr. Here’s a selection of photos from yesterday:

Today, we breakfasted beside Whitechapel Gallery, walked to the Tower of London, took the boat down to Embankment and walked to Tate Britain. We visited two photographers’ exhibitions–seeing the second half of photojournalist Don McCullin’s show (we hadn’t allotted enough time in our first visit). Then we took a double decker bus over to Trafalgar Square, enjoyed lunch at Thai Spice, and took in the last hour of the city-sponsored St. Patrick’s Day music festival.

While it feels surreal to sing Irish Republican songs in Trafalgar Square, particularly because it’s not considered entirely kosher to sing such songs in Dublin these days, we truly felt our love for Ireland by singing along–without having to love London any less!

Ireland’s Call by Phil Coulter 

Come the day and come the hour

Come the power and the glory

We have come to answer Our Country’s call

From the four proud provinces of Ireland

CHORUS

Ireland, Ireland

Together standing tall

Shoulder to shoulder

We’ll answer Ireland’s call

From the mighty Glens of Antrim

From the rugged hills of Galway

From the walls of Limerick And Dublin Bay

From the four proud provinces of Ireland

CHORUS

Hearts of steel, and heads unbowing

Vowing never to be broken

We will fight, until We can fight no more

From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Aongus and I were making the most of our last day together for a while. I’m heading home to Virginia help my Dad who hasn’t been well.

We ended the day at the Blind Beggar, site of a notorious gang murder long ago (see the plaque for further explanation). I’d not been there before, despite it being just blocks from our London home.

Photos from today:

St. Patrick’s Day, Academic Style!

What a phenomenally Irish weekend!

I didn’t do the things a tourist to Dublin normally does on St. Patrick’s Day (which seems to include a lot of roaming the streets while intoxicated).  Instead, I packed my schedule full of St. Patrick’s Day Festival events.  My friends an I pooled out ticket allotment so we could see many shows.

I’ve pictured some of the events below (I didn’t even take photos at every event, believe it or not).  The photos show how academics enjoy St. Paddy’s!  You can see my brainy friends and me enjoying short films in the Examination Hall of Trinity, for instance.

The group that coordinates the St. Patrick’s Day Festival did a fabulous job!  I send my heartfelt thanks to them!

Incidentally, you’d be amazed to see the streets of Temple Bar on Sunday night:  wall to wall people dressed in green velvet!?!!  I elbowed my way through at 7 PM  (I don’t even want to think what the place was like by midnight).  Even at 7, I was clutching my belongings so tight that I forgot to take a photo!

Rolling Out the Green Carpets for St. Patrick’s Day

A past parade in Dublin, downloaded from Jim Small's ND Go Irish Blog.

A past parade in Dublin, downloaded from Jim Small’s ND Go Irish Blog.

Things are hectic here in Dublin.  Almost as soon as Pam flew out two new guests arrived, Toni Grey and Giuseppe Conte.  Unfortunately, plane tickets were so costly for travel to and from St. Patrick’s Day that they won’t be staying to partake in all the festivities.

St. Patrick’s Day falls on 17th March. Originally, the day of celebration marked the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. That happened way back in 432. Today St. Patrick’s Day is a big party that celebrates all things Irish.

This will be my first St. Patrick’s in Ireland and I’m excited to be a part of it all. I’ve been lucky to get some tickets for the St. Patrick’s Festival, thanks to the diligence of Tess who handled all the on-line reservations.

The high point of the 17th will be the People’s Parade. It’s to have hundreds of carnival-type floats with people from the area on board.  The parade will pass right by my apartment block.

Stay tuned for pictures of this year’s events as they unfold….