ARMED with a camera, I hit the streets of Dublin yesterday evening to join the Leaving Cert revellers on their celebratory night.
Harcourt and Camden Street were the two spots I’d predicted the senselessly drunk teenagers to be toasting to the end of their post-primary education.
I’d envisaged myself spending the night dodging drunks, doing Matrix-like moves around projectile vomit and placating the odd teary-eyed, bare-footed teenage girl.
I was sent to get a sense of how this year’s Leaving Cert students were celebrating or, equally, drowning their sorrows.
And I wasn't prepared for what I saw.
Despite numerous barriers being set up outside the capital’s popular nightspots early in the evening, the streets remained devoid of party-goers until ten o’clock.
It was then the first of the mini-buses, taxis and good-willed parents began to drop the masses off.
Seven-inch heels and heavy wafts of Joop galore, a steady stream of students began to enter the Palace nightclub on Camden Street.
The atmosphere was one of excitement as they struck their best poses for the snaps they knew would appear online that night. Not one curse, off-handed remark or drunken slur to be heard, these kids were out to enjoy themselves.
Were they happy with their results?
“Sure, it’s done now!” one lad shrugged.
“We’ll see how we feel in the morning!” another laughed.
And were they enjoying their night so far?
“It’s deadly!” one girl grinned.
Their mission for the night?
"Have the craic, dance, maybe meet a fella," her friend mused.
Groups laughed, chatted and posed for photos as they inched towards the club's doorway.
No projectile vomiting to witness here.
Of course it wasn’t all shiny, happy people.
Two girls emerged from a laneway about twenty minutes after they’d left their taxi.
The dregs of their spirit bottles consumed, they tottered onto the main road on their stilts. One girl was oblivious to the traffic coming from either side, her friend was doing her best lollipop lady impression.
Spirit bottles and cider cans were thrown aside as gangs jumped from taxis, but it wasn’t any different to what you’d see on an average night out in any town across the country.
These groups had one mission at hand and that was to enjoy themselves.
Still very much clued in to their surroundings, many requested for their drink bottles to be held while photographed for the website.
Holding six bottles of spirits and mixer and a few jackets for good measure, I snapped a group of smiling girls as they put on their best pose for mammy and daddy.
As the rain began to pour, I took cover in one of the shop doorways.
“Do you want my umbrella, love?!” I heard one shout as I sent off the last of the photos.
The streets were emptying fast and the clubs were filling up with students eager to celebrate the beginning of a new life chapter.