Close up of my birthday card
Last year I celebrated my 21st birthday while living in Boston. As an Irish guy, I've been used to drinking legally since I was 18 (and illegally for a few years before that!), and one of the hardest things to cope with was the stupid law in the U.S. that you have to be 21 to drink alcohol, and consequently, get into pubs and clubs. Add to that the fact that the Boston area is notoriously strict on ID checks, and the result was me feeling like I was 17 again! Sure, we had a few places where we had a few contacts (us Irish will always have contacts!), but there was no freedom to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. So turning 21 was kind of a big deal!
Now I'd like to say that the morning started well, but turns out that I was at a house party on Nottinghill Road in Brighton, which went on very late! I woke up on the couch with a pounding headache.
Me, Fran, Shane and Sean in HRC Boston
Luckily, Munster (my province at home in Ireland) were playing in the Heineken European Cup final in rugby, and due to the time difference, we had to be down to the pub for 10am to watch it. My parents and two sisters came over from Ireland for a few days to see me for my birthday, so I met them at the Green Briar in Brighton Center, where they were showing the game on a giant projected screen. There was a huge crowd in the pub, and my hang over was quickly healed but a blast of lucozade. After the first half I ran back up to my house to get my passport so I could buy drink (yes, before 11am!) and returned just after the start of the second half. In the end, Munster won the game with Peter Stringer scoring a memorable, cheeky try. Could my birthday have gotten off to a better start?
It's probably worth mentioning that the weather on my birthday has always tended to be good in Cork.
Me cutting more cake, Shane thinks whatever's stuck in Fran's eye is hilarious!
Sometimes we'd have a bad week, it would get nice for my birthday and then we'd have another bad week! But for some reason it was always sunny on my birthday! And after a couple of days of pouring rain, my birthday was the sunniest we had in ages! Of course, the following day we had thunderstorms, with the lightning knocking down a tree outside our house onto a neighbour's car! So it was much appreciated that it was so sunny!
After the match we spilled out into Brighton Center, and myself and my Dad picked up some drink to bring back at the house (will post our "Empty Bottles" photo later). There, my parents, my sisters, myself, my housemates, and a few friends from around the place calmed down after the madness of earlier! We then got ready for dinner! One of my friends had booked the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Boston a week earlier.
Fran (no smiles), Shane and Sean in HRC Boston
I know a lot of people don't like the HRC but I do, and I think it's a safe bet that in a party of 12, everyone will find something they can eat there! When we arrived we were greeted with the shocking news that our reservation had been lost. With a party of 12, this was not good news as it probably meant we wouldn't get seated at all. However, the HRC staff were very nice and apologetic, and told us that if we'd like to sit at the bar and order some appetizers, that they would do everything they could to open up a table for us. We ended up waiting over an hour, but we didn't mind too much as we were brought delicious nachos and other starters, and the drink kept flowing!
Eventually we did get seated, and we enjoyed a very tasty meal! Of course I suffered the obligatory embarrassment of the waiter screaming out to the entire restaurant that it was my birthday and bringing me to the some sort of platform to get my cake! It was all good fun though! After the HRC, my family left for their hotel and me and my friends hit the town! Some of my friends were still under 21, so we headed to the pub/club where we "knew" people, so that they could still get in, and partied on for the night! I think fatigue eventually caught up with us, and we retired a little bit earlier than the night before!
I really enjoyed my 21st birthday, and having it Boston made it all the more memorable.
Sean, Cat and Shane holding my pretty damn impressive birthday card!
The only thing that could have made it better would have been if my girlfriend was there, but unfortunately she was stuck at home in Ireland doing exams! She did make it over about a week later though, and stayed for three months so we had plenty of time together! I'll post up pictures of the day as soon as I can, hope you enjoyed the story!