PHOTO: St. Patrick's Day celebration in Dublin, Ireland. (photo via Flickr/Regan Buker)
It’s time to forego the green beer this St. Patrick’s Day and act like you’ve been here before
I headed to Dublin for a few days to see what locals really think about and act like during their most celebrated holiday and came to the realization I’d been doing it wrong—odds are, so have you.
Sure, the cheerful drunken moments and day-after hangover all look and feel the same, but it was the actual day I had all wrong—especially when it came to the beer, traditions and heritage. Oh, and one little green item just won’t cut it.
As the one national holiday that is celebrated in more countries around the world than any other, St. Patty's is the time when everyone wants to be Irish, so it stands to reason we learn a few things from the pros.
The Irish don’t mind sharing their beloved holiday
In fact, they encourage it—as long as you come strong with spirit, respect and of course the ability to handle the massive amount of partying that comes with the territory.
Around here, it’s a spirited, artistic and carnival-like atmosphere, so the more the merrier.
I also thought it might be taboo to wear the green ensembles we all strive to perfect back in the States—you know, the "Kiss Me I’m Irish" famed t-shirts with lime green tutus. I quickly learned the more green you’re wearing, the better. They even have street vendors lined up to help add to your costume décor, because going overboard and playing the part is all the rage here. It’s truly not possible to show too much pride during this celebrated day.
In fact, Visit Dublin encourages folks to “deck yourself out in the most glaring St Patrick’s paraphernalia you can find!”
READ MORE: Deal Alert: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With Savings on Travel to Ireland
The festival isn’t just a single day
Centered around the beer-buzzed holiday, it’s a multi-day national celebration (March 17–20) that takes 18 months to plan (longer than most weddings).
That makes sense, as more than 500,000 locals and visitors alike take part in the party, with the St. Patrick’s Festival Parade being the highlight. More than 100,000 overseas visitors venture into Dublin to help celebrate this holiday, officially kicking off their tourist season.
On to the beer!
The best place to spend a Dublin St. Patrick’s Day (after the parade festivities) is of course at the home of it all: the Guinness Storehouse.
More than 30,000 people will enter the Storehouse doors—which is shaped like a pint, to give you an idea how seriously they take this stuff around here—throughout the festival, thanks to their free samples and deep-seated tie to the country.
Nowhere else do you see a brand, not to mention a beer, so intrinsically tied to a nation.
Guinness’ founder, Arthur Guinness was so sure his brew was the best, he took out a 9,000 year lease of the premises in 1759 for a rent of £45 a year. Talk about putting your money where your brew is.
READ MORE: The Best Beers To Try on Each Continent
Although St. Patrick's Day will be busy everywhere, and your bartenders will be rushing around like madmen (and women), it should take 119.5 seconds to pour a perfect Guinness.
The Beer-Lover's Bucket List Item
The Guinness Storehouse is located in the heart of the St. James's Gate Brewery and is Ireland's most popular tourist attraction. (It was also recently voted Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction in the 2015 World Travel Awards, beating the likes of Buckingham Palace, Rome's Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower).
The home of the “Black Stuff,” this is the heart of Dublin and an unforgettable start to your Irish adventure.
The Storehouse experience continues up through seven floors filled with interactive experiences that fuse the long brewing heritage with Ireland's rich history, ending with a pint of perfection in their world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar. Talk about higher education.
FUN FACT 2:
Guinness estimates some 10 million glasses of its stuff are consumed each day around the world. (I can only imagine how much that number goes up on St. Patrick’s Day.)
Whether you’re drinking the black stuff or the green stuff, stand proud with the Irish, even if just for the day.