Now that it’s finally legal to buy alcohol on Good Friday in Ireland, are we really any happier? Or should we lament losing the charm of having one day of the year where drinking alcohol was a bit of a challenge? The Circular investigates…
As Andy Williams once sang….’It’s the most wonderful time of the year.’
Okay, technically, Andy was singing about Christmas, but let’s ignore that for a second. For many people living in Ireland up until 2018, the opening line of that song could also have been applied to Good Friday, the non-bank holiday Christian day of worship that often became the most accidentally fantastic day of the year for young people all around the country.
Why was it so fantastic? Because up until last year, pubs and off-licences were closed on Good Friday by law, meaning that bored young Irish people often had to get creative in order to satisfy their Friday thirst. If we’ve learned anything about young Irish people over the years, it’s that boredom and creativity can be a deadly combination.
Banning the sale of alcohol on Good Friday only made people in Ireland want to drink even more. Pubs were never busier than the night of Holy Thursday, as people drank as much as they possibly could under the cloud of impending doom (the clock striking midnight).
Meanwhile as off-licences prepared to close for the night, they were often ransacked by desperate folk determined to stock up on cans and whatever they could get their hands on, as though the following day would likely be their last. Missing the 10pm off-licence closing on Holy Thursday was akin to missing out on the last Turkey left in the supermarket on Christmas Eve.
And in true Irish fashion, while most people would spend the weekend giving out about the inconvenience, many of us secretly enjoyed the novelty of it all. In an increasingly secular Ireland, where even a large number of practising Catholics would be unwilling to part from a pint in honour of their Lord Saviour Jesus Christ, public and commercial pressure eventually told and the ban on alcohol was lifted.
Now Good Friday just isn’t as good. Its just a Friday. Okay, some of us get the day off work. But aside from that, there’s nothing special about it. Gone are the halcyon days of having to desperately raid your parents’ drinks cabinet, show up at your friend’s house party with a weird selection of Gin, Whiskey, Malibu and a few cans of Schweppes, and start negotiating drink trades with your mates to get your hands on that elusive can of Heineken you so desperately crave but forgot to buy the day before.
No more unexpectedly hilarious house parties fuelled by a random collection of booze and the communal sense of cabin fever. No more late taxis into town to find out if any of the pubs or clubs had opened after midnight. No more ending up in Coppers. Every time. No more running into depressed tourists near Temple Bar having unwittingly booked their weekend visit to coincide with an alcohol ban.
If Dublin City really is losing some of it’s artistic and cultural identity in the transitional age of sky-high rents, vulture funds and soulless commercial building sites, maybe the loss of the unofficial annual ‘gaf session’ represents that gradual erosion of charm. Or just maybe, all this nostalgia is getting the better of us and we’re losing all sense of perspective.
Either way, The Circular would like to hear what you think. So please click on the poll below and put us out of our misery.Create your own user feedback survey