This week is Good Friday, an important day for all Christians in the religious year and a very odd day for everybody in Ireland. Why is it odd?
Well, with the big role the catholic religion plays in Ireland (Education is still dominated by catholic institutions, the majority of laws and rules are directly or indirectly influenced by the catholic church), you would think that Good Friday is a public holiday, but it isn’t. It is a bank holiday, but no public holiday. Which means that most of us will have to work on that day.
On the other hand, when it comes to pubs, the day is even odder. Suddenly it is soooo important that there are special laws for it: Pubs are not allowed to open on Good Friday. (And it doesn’t matter if you are catholic or not, the all-caring Irish state is protecting you from yourself so that you don’t accidentally commit a sinful act of consuming alcohol on that day.) BUT….wait…it is permitted to sell alcohol IF it is in connection with a substantial meal, so that travelling people won’t have to miss their alcohol. And two years ago a number of Greyhound stadiums got a permission to sell alcohol. Hotels are allowed to sell alcohol, but restaurants are not. Mad!
All a bit contradictory or hypocritical? You bet!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the fact that people have a day less per year to get drunk. But this is a LAW in 2015, which means that the police is obliged to enforce it! Odd, outdated and just plain bonkers!
And how do (too) many people in Ireland react to this oddness? With even odder behaviour! Watch Off-licenses on Thursday evening!! Some will have queues outside, others will just be packed. ALL will be super busy. Why? Because, “OMG, the pubs will be closed on Friday and how could I survive without alcohol for a WHOLE day?”
(This article was originally published in the “Dublin Event Guide (for Free Events)” in April 2014.