Sculpture of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. Photo credit: Dalibor Tomic (Flickr)

Sculpture of Jesus Christ at the crucifixion. Photo credit: Dalibor Tomic (Flickr)

Catholic traditions in Ireland have been gradually losing their prominence for some time now.

It wasn’t too long ago that families would flock to mass on Sunday’s, mammy’s wouldn’t serve meat on Fridays, and Easter would be seen as a religious celebration, rather than a handy couple of days off work.

Now, mass goers are at an all-time low, and the majority of the country won’t even stay off meat on Good Friday, let alone every other one.

With the slow and gradual death of each tradition, I wonder, is Ireland losing its identity?

Another Good Friday is just around the corner and for very few, it will be celebrated as the day Jesus Christ was crucified for all of mankind. For everyone else? A day off with nowhere to go for pints.

As you read, off-licence workers are gearing themselves up for one of their busiest days of the year, the Thursday before Good Friday. It has become the norm for people of Ireland to stock up on drink on Thursday now, to spare themselves from the possibility of having nothing to sip on for one day of the year.

Walsh Off-Licence, like many around the country, will be extra busy on Thursdsy/ Photo credit: Andrew Bennett (Flickr)

Walsh Off-Licence, like many around the country, will be extra busy on Thursdsy/ Photo credit: Andrew Bennett (Flickr)

Ireland is still religious in many ways, such as when it comes to what is taught in primary schools, and our abortion laws remain as they were, reportedly leading to twelve Irish women a day travelling to the UK for abortions every day.

In May 2015, Ireland took a massive step forward for the whole world, legalising same-sex marriages, something we wouldn’t have even dreamt of even ten years ago. Most people would agree that that was needed and it was about time we had the same laws for everyone in our country, but what about the little traditions? Is it time to scrap the likes of Good Friday or at least the traditions that go with it? Do people obey these traditions anymore anyway?

I believe Ireland is clutching on to its last piece of catholic identity with two hands, but its grip is loosening every day. This year, the Aviva Stadium will be selling alcohol for the Republic of Ireland friendly match on Good Friday.

Dublin's Aviva Stadium will be one of the only places in town to get a pint on Friday. Photo credit: Sean MacEntee (Flickr)

Dublin’s Aviva Stadium will be one of the only places in town to get a pint on Friday. Photo credit: Sean MacEntee (Flickr)

The Irish Independent published an article titled ‘Ireland fans have an extra reason to get themselves to the Aviva for Switzerland match on Good Friday.’ In one clean swoop, you have your national newspaper and your national stadium condoning drinking on Good Friday. Is it time to let go?

The Licenced Vintners’ Association think so. Chief executive Donall O’Keefe said: “Every Good Friday we have tens of thousands of tourists wandering around Dublin asking why they can’t go into a pub for a drink. Now we are going to have up to 50,000 soccer fans facing the same problem. Not to mention the tens of thousands who will want to watch the match in their local pub.”

You can guarantee you’ll see plenty of cans around the streets of Dublin that night, and thousands of puzzled Swiss fans looking on in amazement at the Irish who got their hands on bottles and cans, despite alcohol not being on sale anywhere.

People will get their hands on bottles this Friday, no matter what. Photo credit: DiddyOh (Flickr)

People will get their hands on bottles this Friday, no matter what. Photo credit: DiddyOh (Flickr)

As I take my seat at the match and tuck into a burger and a pint, I will wonder where it all went wrong for Ireland’s once hugely respected tradition – and I won’t even dream of telling my Nana.