As Good Friday approaches and Holy Thursday enters its final hours, Ireland drinks up. The taps shudder to a halt as the clock strikes midnight and remain dry until Saturday. The restaurants and off-licenses lock their doors and supermarkets drag down the metal shutters on the chilled beer and wine and cordon off their booze displays across the country. Boozers storm the shops today and stock up on slabs of beer and crates of wine in a prohibition-fuelled frenzy. There are house parties all around the country on Good Friday. As a student in Dublin, I went to exactly one house party the whole time and that was on Good Friday. I walked home at sunrise.
The Prohibition of Liquor Act 1926 outlaws the sale of alcohol in Ireland on Christmas Day and Good Friday. The St. Patrick’s Day was ban was lifted in the sixties for obvious economic and tourist reasons. Every year the absurdity of the Good Friday ban on booze hits the media and every year the restaurant and pub owners associations lobby the government to lift the ban. Easter Weekend is a Bank Holiday and the first long weekend of the spring/summer where the national and international tourist season kicks-off.
This year thousands of rugby fans from Bath will travel to Ireland tomorrow for the Leinster match on Saturday. English rugby fans like to drink. They will have to guzzle their cans bought on Ryanair tomorrow and then hold their pinkies above china on Fridays as they enjoy their tea on Friday night.
The exemptions are of course the best part to the ludicrous legislation – you can drink on a ferry, train or airplane. Some greyhound tracks have exemptions and in 2010 the pubs in Limerick were got a reprieve because Munster was in the Heineken Cup final. The ludicrous law lets us all act like teenagers again. People try to buy beer in their local shop at the back door. They sneak into hotels and pose as guests so they can drink wine in the restaurant. They chug cans on their train trips down the country.
The madness and shenanigans of Holy Thursday and Good Friday have made me realize that prohibition in the US must have been one crazy party.
On a more serious note, the lingering control of the Catholic Church over public policy through De Valera’s constitution is real. I would personally prioritize booting the Church’s influence out of healthcare, education and RTE (the public broadcaster which has an affection for charming Pope stories). I will leave those issues for another day and open a bottle of wine in celebration of Wet Thursday (fittingly it’s raining). Don’t worry, I bought three more in case of emergency.
3 thoughts on “Welcome to Wet Thursday”
Heard yesterday that our daughter-in-law is expecting again! So, not disagreeing with you alanna, but it is we who are lucky, I think!
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Thank you for your message. West Kerry is certainly one of the most beautiful and unique places on earth! That photo is of Kilshannig.Your daughter-in-law is very lucky to have you all. An Association of Super-grans sounds like a promising business idea! Thanks again for your best wishes and message.
West Kerry and its people are extraordinary. Both have many, many memories for me, and a special hold on me. I was born and reared in the South East, but my mother was from Castlegregory, and I have uncountable relatives in the area. As a young lad, I’ve been up every back road, climbed the mountains, fished the streams and in the bay, been in many houses, at many dances in Tralee, Dingle, the Gaeltacht, you-name-it. It is a place that can steal your heart, if not your soul. Which is why I rarely go there now except for the odd funeral – it would be too upsetting. Your header photo looks like Kilshannig, and the bit on the left like the graveyard. My grand-aunt used own the Green Room, and my mother’s first cousin had a guest-house in Loughhbeg. My Granny and Granda are buried in Killiney graveyard, as are so many other relations.
I hope you find what you’re looking for back in the States. You must have found some of it in the Maharees, I suppose, tho’ perhaps not enough. That’s a terrible pity, a chailín, but as you said, a support network is indispensable when you’re trying to work and simultaneously rearing a family. We have three grandchildren. My (American) daughter-in-law, who has a little girl and a baby boy and lives in Dublin, can call on my youngest daughter, also in Dublin, or on my wife for help in any emergency, any illness, if they need a holiday, to go to look at a house (they’re house-hunting) or even if they want to go out for an evening. If she didn’t have that, I wonder might she too be rethinking living in Ireland. I know she appreciates the assistance very much. My missus, of course, will gallop off at a moment’s notice, and has often done so. I’m married to Super-gran, bejabers!
There surely must be an opening for an Association of Super-grans who can step into the breach for mums in your situation when a family emergency – or indeed any short-term necessity – arises! Now, there’s a thought…
I’ve signed as Tuskar Rock, which started as my Twitter username and which I now use in every blog I subscribe to – so I’ve used it here too. Hope you don’t mind.
I wish you the best of everything and all good luck go with you.
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