Nathan Overlock is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A professional writing and information design major at Cedarville University, he is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Nathan takes us to the Cruinniú na Cásca festival, celebrating Easter and local arts.
A funny thing about studying abroad in the spring is that, as excited as you get about visiting a brand new country, you arrive in the dead of winter. While Ireland is nice enough to be out in about in a light jacket on sunny January days, a little rain or some light wind is enough to keep you inside by the heater. If I’d just been travelling for a week or two, I might have regretted the timing, yet the chance to arrive in Dublin to calm and quiet, and watch the city slowly transform as the weather changes, more and more people visit, and the festival season kicks off is an experience I never would’ve had without spending the whole spring semester here.
With the first music festival of the year, the Dublin TradFest falling during the coldest, rainiest weeks of February, and St. Paddy’s day weather not fairing much better, Easter marked my first true spring holiday weekend. When I googled “Easter in Dublin” all the travel sites and tips pages that came up warned me that the city would be dead, practically shutting down for Good Friday, with a quiet Easter Sunday and Monday to follow. They suggested simply enjoying the outdoor sites and the spring weather. So, early Monday I started out in the sun towards the train station to catch a ride to the local village of Howth, when I found myself walking through the biggest festival yet: Cruinniú na Cásca, the Easter Festival. Even with the weekly updates on things to do in Dublin from our helpful CAPA coordinator, I’d manage to miss this one.
While vaguely commemorating both Easter Sunday and the Easter Rising, the Cruinniú na Cásca festivals biggest goal was to promote local arts, with totally free concerts, movies, lectures and exhibitions. events and workshops for all ages spread across the entire city, complimented by fun activities and hundreds of food tents and trucks. Just walking between all the festival’s stages and tent villages, at places like Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Teeling Distillery took over an hour on the beautiful spring day, and I found myself spending even more time at each stop to take in the music, try out street art or radio workshops, and sample food.
Though the festival was totally welcoming to tourists and visitors, with extra kiosks selling souvenirs, and special information tables, it was clear that its first purpose was to be a fun family day out for locals. In fact, every big Dublin event I’ve made it to has felt the same. Travelling from a town in the U.S. where so many of our big festivals are for tourists first gives me an even higher appreciation for events like these, since I came to Ireland to experience the culture as much as the sights.
One of my professors likes to joke that you should be careful about spending too much time in Ireland, because you’ll leave more Irish than American. The sun and spring air the past few weekends has been unbeatable, and there isn’t a better time to surround yourself with other travelers and locals alike to get a taste of everything that really makes Dubin worth studying in.
Nathan's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.