My Irish Weekend
Blog :Somewhere I Belong... the path to finding me
Date: 3/20/2012 2:29:15 AM
The Irish are fascinating, aren’t they? My earliest interaction with the Irish began with leprechauns, as is with most children outside of Ireland, I think. Little old men with pots of gold…
My festivities began rather early. From the end of January, if memory serves right, when I found out (it is for this reason alone that I’m glad I have a newspaper subscription) that the Riverdance company would be performing Chicago. I’d watched Michael Flatley‘s Riverdance and Lord of the Dance shows as a child, most than a decade ago, and while I was a bit put off that it wasn’t his company, I still delighted in the prospect of watching a live performance of Irish tap dancing!
The Oriental Theater, Chicago
I fretted over the tickets for a good while before I paid up and got, what I deemed, the best seat possible. I’m pleased to report that it was all worth it. The Oriental Theater/Ford Theater itself was a bit of a surprise for me, what with all the awesome carvings all over, and a rather sophisticated and old feel to it. Anyway. One and a half hours of awe-inspiring tap dancing, in both hard and soft shoes, a fiery flamenco performance, foot tapping (get it? ) pieces by two tappers who also gave the show a comic feel, wonderful and moving instrumental pieces (drums, violin and pipes), singers and the grand finale with the entire company joining in in song and dance. I loved the perfection of the dance; they made it seem so simple and easy to stand on ones toes and prance about with seemingly no effort! Next step, go watch Michael Flatley!
Now, when I moved to Chicago two year back, I had been told of the tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green on St. Patrick’s Day. Most (un)fortunately, St. Patrick’s Day has always fallen on a weekend of Spring break, which meant I was never in the city to witness the splendor of watching the brownish waters of the river turn neon green for a few hours. This year, I made my trip home early in the month so I was around to watch this happen!
Given the freakishly warm season and the rather unexpected early onset of Spring (Chicagoans would know exactly what I mean by this), I knew it would be crowded. But nothing, absolutely nothing, prepared me for the thousands of people lined up along the Riverwalk, river, and bridges. If I thought the dyeing of the river was crowded, I was in for a bit of a shock when I walked through the throng of people, all dressed in green, towards Grant Park onto Congress Parkway where the parade was underway. Thousands and thousands of people! The final count, I believe was more than 350,000! I mean, seriously!! I wonder where all these people have been in the past few months, because I’ve never ever seen so many people on the streets of the Windy City in my time here! I guess the weather brought them out But apparently this happens every year for St. Paddy’s.
East view of the Chicago River from the river walk
Canoes on the river!
Filed under: Espresso - Black Cream and Sugar, Interesting Stuff, Listen, See, Feel Tagged: chicago, chicago river, dyeing of the river, green chicago river, irish, irish tap dancing, michael flatley, riverdance, st. patrick's day, st. patrick's day parade