One of our neighbors started BLARING horrible techno-pop and talking and laughing loudly at 4:30 this morning. This went on for about 40 minutes, and then we didn’t hear another peep. I don’t know what that was about. In the late morning the bells of St. Patrick’s Cathedral pealed for maybe an hour. Then we watched the 1-hour St. Patrick’s Day parade from our apartment balcony this afternoon. The parade began over a mile away across the Liffey and ended a block after our building, just past the cathedral. Most marchers still seemed pretty energetic though. I thought the parade would be at least a couple hours, but I guess we had quality if not quantity. Before the parade started, I looked out over the crowd below and felt sorry for the families with young children who would have a hard time seeing and who would get tired of standing. I figured our balcony could hold a few more people, so I walked down to the sidewalk and invited a couple and their 2-year-old daughter to join us. They did join us and were so grateful that the taxi-driver husband said he’d drive us to the airport for free on April 1. I was surprised that all the marching bands were from American high schools (and one or two colleges) and wondered where the Irish marching bands were. Then it occurred to me that other countries don’t play (much) American-style football and thus don’t have the same venues for marching bands. I looked up whether marching bands are “uniquely American” and found an article with just those words in the title on the Communities Digital News website. It said the ancient world had traveling musicians at festivals which after years of increasing organization morphed into military bands leading troops onto the battlefield. Marching bands came in stages to American high schools, keeping in mind that public high schools are a relatively recent invention. Universities had marching bands before high schools did, but they didn’t play at football games until the University of Illinois Marching Illini in 1907. “Purdue University’s All-American Marching Band was the first to march in a pattern on the field with their Block P Formation the same year.” Today there were parade marchers (not in the marching bands) who wore beautiful or bizarre costumes and really neat, kind of modern-art, moving displays…not sure what else to call them. (They weren’t typical floats.) But the parade would have been pretty short without the American bands. That seems strange to me. So then I started thinking that maybe parades that are not military parades or not related to Carnival/Mardi Gras are American in origin. I haven’t found much to back that up though. After the parade we walked to Merrion Square where we heard there were festival-type rides. Some of them looked pretty sickening, so Charlie only wanted to ride the carousel. Overall I expected more public drunkenness, celebration, and craziness today. I’m sure there was more going on on O’Connell Street near where the parade started in the older part of Dublin, but from what I saw things were quite tame.