On St Patrick’s Day, we Dutch got a unique chance to be as Dublin as we can be.
Because we’re into bicycles, we’re member of the Dublin Cycling Campaign. And because of that, we got to join in the last act of the official St Patrick’s Day parade: a host of Dublin cyclists, dressed in white green t-shirts with ‘That Was Brilliant’ written on the back.
And indeed: it was brilliant. Together with forty other cyclists, we met on Dublin’s north side and from there slowly made our way through the city. I thought the purpose of parades was to amuse spectators: to let them clap, cheer, hug and sing — safe and anonymous from within a crowd.
However, today I found out that there is actually more to see from a spot within the parade. From the inside, I saw the real attraction is the crowd itself – not the parade. It gave rise to a theory: rather than serving as entertainment for the spectators, parades may just be an elaborate way of attracting spectators, so that persons parading by have something to look at.
Granted: the theory is far fetched, but it’s less unlikely when you consider what we saw, as we made our way through Dublin: children on shoulders, teenagers in lamp-posts, families on balconies, RTE helicopters and police on horses. Moreover, we saw leprechauns behind bars, rugby teams with shamrock glasses, girls with face paint and viking helmets, musicians without instruments and drunkards making friends.
The whole crowd seemed to work in concert, as if in an effort to perform a play for those lucky enough to walk undisturbed on the inside of the crowd barriers.
Take a look for yourself: