My first memory of St Patrick’s Day is standing in our house in Rockfield Road in Kells, screaming my head off as my Mum was putting a nice green ribbon in my hair. Daddy was bringing me to Mass but all I remember was the ribbon knotted, feeling like a rock was sitting on the top of my hair, pulling my hair.
My memories of St Patrick’s Day then go from one form of pain to another. I’m a cold creature at the best of times and occasionally I will throw in a ‘I haven’t been this cold since the 1983 St. Patick’s Day parade in Kells.
Truth is, I think it was earlier than that. It could have been anywhere from 1979 – 1983. I was in Brownies, we always ‘marched’ in the parade in Kells. In between the FCA, the Silver band and the tractors, you had us, the Scouts and the local football teams. When I think about that day, I remember the cold. I remember the rain and the hail hitting my face as we walked past the old Army Barracks down Canon Street and into Suffolk Street. I remember the cold on my legs and wondering why we couldn’t wear trousers. I can’t remember if I had a coat on, I presume I must have. But I just remember the cold.
I then remember sitting in the living room in our house and trying to defrost, with that pain in your hands and feet. The pain of the cold and the numbness slowly leaving and the feeling coming back into my hands.
So here’s my confession. I moved to Dublin in 1997. I lived there until 2013. 16 years. 16 St Patrick’s Days. 16 St Patrick’s Day Parades in Dublin and I haven’t seen one of them.
The closest I ever got was when, a couple of years ago, KNBR, the Bay Area sports station I listen to, were in town for the occasion. I went to meet PCon and the crew but bypassed the festivities, crossing closed roads but never seeing the parade.
Am I the only one? Is there anyone else who has been in Dublin that long, who made the place their home and hasn’t seen the St Patrick’s Day parade? I hear people talking about the Dublin parade but going when they were kids, but they’ve been to the parade. I haven’t.
This year, I’m going to aim to see it, not as a Dublin resident but as a tourist! Edit: March 14 2017. Didn’t make the 2016 parade either. I thought I might see the one in Navan but missed that too!
For your enjoyment, here’s some video of the FCA in Kells at the St Patrick’s Day parade, probably about 1990/1991. Pity there was no one else in the parade.