Celebrating St. Stephen’s Day in Ireland

Dancing with my cousins and best friend.

Celebrating St. Stephen’s Day in Ireland

After a particularly rough end to 2009, my best friend, Lara, and I decided to ring in 2010 the best way we knew how…with a trip to Europe. Our small plan grew to three countries over seven days: first, Ireland to visit my family, then Belgium to visit her friends, and finally, The Netherlands to celebrate New Year’s Eve. It fell perfectly into place, and on Christmas night we set off for Europe.

Lara and I at Trinity College.

Because we left on Christmas night, we woke up the next morning in Ireland on December 26th, which happens to be St. Stephen’s Day. Having always heard about the day as a child, I was curious to see what it entailed. Lucky for me, it seemed to be an extension of Christmas.

Christmas Crackers!

And, we have a winner!

Family was invited over and a big meal was cooked for all to enjoy. But, what made this holiday truly special was the fact that most of my family lives in Ireland, and Lara and I were staying with them. This allowed us to join in on the festivities.

But, we also had more crackers!

Even though a there’s usually no better way to spend a holiday than with a feast, after dinner comes the best part, going out for a night on the town. This reminded me most of the night before Thanksgiving when everyone comes home from college and heads to the bar. On St. Stephen’s night, everyone heads out and parties with friends who live near to home and those who are visiting for the Christmas season.

Forget Dublin! We're celebrating in Longford!

Dressed in their best, everyone heads out for a night in the pub and then out dancing in a night club. Good moods and the holiday spirit could be felt all around.

Dancing with my cousins and best friend.

One with our new friend, Marie.

And, one with Shane...what a lucky guy!

One too many cocktails, perhaps?

While St. Stephen’s is not a holiday celebrated in the United States, it is one that I am glad I was able to be a part of a few years ago in Ireland. Holidays help bring those in our lives closer together, and I truly feel that I grew closer to my friends and family during this celebration. It is one night, I know, I will never forget.

This post is part of BootsnAll’s Indie Travel Challenge 2012.
Week twenty-seven’s topic: There are many reasons to travel and many moments make traveling special. Have you ever traveled to another country during a new [to you] holiday? If so, what was special about it?

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