Top of the muffin to you! The Cackling Hen survived its first St. Patrick's Day just a Blarney Stone's throw away from the land of Patrick. Living in the U.S., I knew that St. Patty's day has traditionally been a debaucherous day with green liquids flowing, and suddenly everyone is Irish. But I didn't know if that was a global tradition, or something warped by Americans. This year, I learned what St. Patty's day is like in Nottingham, England.
Putting the "Happy" in St. Patrick's Day.
I joined a flock on hen friends at noon to start the day at a traditional Irish restaurant: Hooters. I was elated to be at a restaurant founded by a bird. We ordered a smorgasbord of fried appetizers and pitchers of American beer. I silently detested anyone eating chicken wings, but in the spirit of the holiday, I kept my beak shut and put my attention to the loaded tater tots. But surrounded by unhealthy food, beer, and good hen friends, I was loving life. After 30 minutes of gorging on tots and fried pickles, I was still loving life, but having trouble breathing and moving.
Ready 4 hugz.
To the square!
We waddled and fluttered out of Hooters to the main square where hundreds of people were gathered, wearing Irish garb and listening to a live band. But we came with our own entertainment - signs to wear offering free hugs. Not everyone was receptive to hugs from drunk strangers, but we learned quickly not to give people the choice. Set your eyes on a target and hug that stranger. So that's what we did. A few put up a good fight or ran with all their might, but there was no escaping us. No one left unhugged. Check out the video footage below!
After chasing chickadees and hugging policemen, we continued to celebrate at the next Irish pub, TGI Friday's. The bar was empty until our flock arrived...odd on a Monday at 4 p.m., but we graciously filled the place and bocked at volumes louder than we knew. We scared one of the bartenders away after we tried to secretly talk about him at piercing volumes. One hen pestered the other bartender until she gave up her Jagermeister lanyard. As a group, we turned this casual family dining chain into a chain of debauchery and empty shot glasses, all before dinner time.
When the sun set, some hens slowly fluttered home for power naps or to crawl into the fetal position. My hen friend Kim and I decided we needed power naps if we were going to make it to more bars later. We left TGI Friday's around 8 p.m. with promises of seeing our friends again soon. I was convinced I could guide us home, but after passing the same Primark three times and ending up in residential areas and a college campus, I asked for directions in a hotel. We somehow had strayed further from our hotel than we'd been at TGI Friday's. The woman's directions seemed simple enough, but we then wound up in the main square again, only this time there were no chickadees and cops to chase and hug to live music. We got in the first taxi we saw and flapped our way to our rooms.
I woke up two hours later to the sound of One Direction blaring from my phone. That was my cue to return to the bars, but the 5 pounds of fried pickles, beer, and seed were still battling through my stomach. I couldn't just lay there in agony, so I forced myself out of bed and fluttered downstairs, shaking a little bit. In lieu of more beer for St. Patrick, I bought a bottle of sparkling water. The bottle was green, so I deemed my first British St. Patrick's Day a success.
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