Nightwatch: Here's to Paddy power
Saint Patrick's Day always brings to mind early memories of being hoisted up high on my dad's shoulders as I struggled to catch a glimpse of the passing parade.
As I got older, it involved dressing up in my baggy jeans and loitering about the Senior Cup final, faux interested in rugby and very interested in its players. But, in more recent years, the annual saint's day has become less and less agenda driven.
Once you enter the working world, time does become that bit more precious and each day off should be properly taken advantage of. But one weekend somehow begins to melt into another, as routine starts to set in. Well, with a proper holiday to celebrate, I became determined to go all out with everything Saint Patrick's related for as long as I could push it. Be it an excuse to wear fancy clothing, drink strange-coloured drinks, or quite simply just have a good time, I was going to curtail my grinch-like tendencies and go all gung ho, all in the name of Saint Pat.
A spate of working weekends away and a series of spontaneous remote adventures meant I hadn't been in Dublin for a weekend for well over a month. Now competing with the hi-jinx of Galway and a series of colourful weekends in Prague, Edinburgh and Cork, Dublin had high expectations piled upon its shoulders.
The scene was quickly set, though, when an invite pinged into my email. Jameson were throwing a St Patrick's party in the distillery and it was the answer to our "we need a cool thing to go to" prayers.
The "you and a guest" part of the invite was quickly bent as I sent a bold but swift RSVP, asking "can I bring seven guests?" Most surprisingly, it is met with a yes.
So the gang assembled at mine beforehand. Hostess was lithe in PVC pants and PR guru had gone for head to toe black, topped off with a leather jacket sort of resembling a Hells Angel moll. My flatmate was bubbling over with excitement and I'd painted my fingernails green in honour of the occasion.
When the clock struck nine, the disco cab pulled up to the door. This really is the best invention since toast to hit Dublin -- it's basically a party before the party in a massive taxi. Florence and the Machine and Dizzee Rascal blared out and a strobe light shone in. With the blackened windows, it set the scene for a wonderful seedy nightclub atmosphere. As PR guru and Hostess went completely bonkers, I already knew tonight was going to be fun.
Upon arrival at the distillery, we mainlined it to the bar. Raising our odd cocktails with an Irish theme, we all felt distinctly patriotic. Forget the parade and rugby, this is what it's all about from now on for me.
"I like your nails," a male with an American twang announced. "They're green. I think it's cool," he added, pointing at them, in case I somehow didn't know what he was talking about.
"Yes, it's for Saint Patrick," I smiled, politely but somewhat coolly.
"You know, my mom has Irish relatives," he continued undeterred.
Despite the fact that he was decidedly cute, I was decidedly bored.
This first stage of the night came to a rapid close as the boys didn't match the cocktails, so we headed to a nearby nightclub before swiftly leaving as the very young crowd didn't suit our newly acquired Irish mood. A taxi delivered us to Harcourt Street and we strutted down the themed green-lit staircase of our favourite haunt, instantly aware that our night was now in safe hands.
Vodka tonics with green food dye were consumed as Irish tunes blare out.
Hostess was eventually found at the end of the night with a stolen Irish flag wrapped around her like a pashmina and somehow managing to look quite chic. PR Guru was lost. but she did text a photo of herself arm in arm with the Molly Malone statue.
The next morning I woke up with the mother and father of all hangovers and chipped green nails. Saint Patrick would have been proud.