“Took a drop of pure to keep me heart from shrinking,
That’s the Paddy’s cure when’er he’s on for drinking”
— Rocky Road to Dublin
Oops, meant to post this on St. Patrick’s Day.
Ireland is my adopted country. Where would I start about the relationship the Irish have with drink; and the perception the rest of the world has about the Irish drinking? It’s complex, and not what I’m going to get into here.
The stereotype of the drunken Irish is loosening its grip .. but has deep roots. The image above is a mid-19th century British political cartoon showing the ‘Irish monkey’ with drink in hand… that deeply insulting image was the common way in that era to portray the Irish in both Britain and the US. The cartoons always featured drink.
Drink has destroyed many lives in this country, drink still destroys lives here. However, there has been a huge – and growing – awareness and movement away from a drink culture. I’ve seen it in the years I’ve lived here. Awareness is growing about the health and addiction down sides of alcohol. Ireland now has some of the strictest drink driving laws in Europe and the US (even one drink is considered too much to get behind the wheel). We’re shifting from a ‘sure you’ll be grand’ mentality to making sure there is a designated driver in the group. There’s been a big education process in the last year about how long alcohol stays in your body – and Garda (police) have begun setting up breath test checks on Monday mornings to catch drunks from the weekend.
This is my second totally sober St. Patrick’s Day. 4,425 drinks passed on as well (according to my app). I’m h-appy about that!
I’ll leave you with one of my very favorite songs – ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’ by Ireland’s The Dubliners. The late much-loved massively talented Luke Kelly, one of the Dubliners’ singer/songwriters sings here. Luke sadly poisoned by – and died enthralled to — the Paddy’s cure.