Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Good Friday prohibition

I'd just like to say that we faced the Good Friday hump and survived.

You've probably heard that no alcohol was sold throughout Ireland yesterday. Not just off-licences, but all the pubs are shut too. I assume that the Catholic Church have a hand in this; instead of drinking on the day Christ died we should be meditating, praying and attending mass.

However if you're not religious you may find your social life severely restricted on Good Friday. This is because Ireland's social scene revolves around the pub. Before think I'm just trecking out the stereotype of the drunken Irish, I don't mean that we live in bars all weekend with the sole purpose of getting out of our minds. But the cafe culture that is so popular on mainland Europe has not caught on as much here.

A while ago I was thinking about giving up the drink for a year. I made a list of sociable activities that don't involve alcohol, but I got stuck on the cinema and bowling. The craic is just too good in Irish bars. They are great places to meet friends and family, catch up with the news and to wind down. Dublin's thousands of pubs cater to a huge range of tastes, whether it's ultra modern wine bars or scruffy old man pubs. Chain bars have not caught on here unlike the UK, so every pub is unique.

That's why Good Friday is so strange. On Christmas day people are at home with their families and probably don't miss the pubs. But Good Friday for many people is the beginning of a four day weekend, a chance to let their hair down. You can only attend mass for one hour a day after all. So maybe the Church should drop the ban or at least have the pubs open in the evening. Because it can no longer compete with the number one institution in Ireland. And no-one likes being told what to do on their day off.

9 comments:

seanachie said...

Anyone who has worked in the catering industry or the licensed trade in Ireland knows that the best parties of the year are always on Good Friday, the only day when everyone you know has the day off (that isn't, of course, Christmas). It's a long time since I haven't had a drink on Good Friday.

hellojed said...

Hi Seanachie. I wasn't aware of that fact, thanks for the tip - I'll make sure I get in with someone from either trade for next year...

Conortje said...

I had forgotten about the pubs being closed on Good Friday in Ireland. It used to be that the only place you could legally buy booze was on the trains - I wonder if that is still true.
Great blog by the way!

hellojed said...

Hi Conorje,

Thanks! Now that you say it I remember something about the trains - and the airports. Apparently hotels can serve alcohol to residents too.

Beccy said...

I was reading a newspaper article today about people buying train tickets in Connelly station just so they could drink at the bar!

I advocate freedom of choice.

Macoosh said...

it was definitely weird to not have alcohol as an option; even for me who rarely drinks.

strange.

wonder if it'll ever change here??? what do you think?

hellojed said...

Beccy - I wouldn't put it past them! Crazy. At least this year people could have a few beers with friends in their gardens.

Macoosh - it is strange. I think it might change eventually because people just aren't as religious as they were before. For example the pubs used to close between 2 and 4 every Sunday - the so-called holy hour - but this was abolished in 2000. I can see maybe a compromise happening where the pubs open in the evening.

Anonymous said...

there is no mass on good friday

Yvonne said...

Actually many churches meet on Good Friday, it may not be a traditional Holy Mass but they still mark the occasion. But I take your point. The drinking ban on Good Friday is because it's traditionally a day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. I feel that it should be up to the individual whether they follow this tradition, instead of the State imposing a religious principle on the whole population.