Friday, April 03, 2015

Good Friday In A Dry Country

The Catholic Church in Ireland is under fire for its history of child sex abuse, forced adoptions, the Magdalene laundry gulag to contain female sexuality, and general hypocrisy. Church attendance has fallen off considerably and many claim no religion when asked about their faith.

But still.....

The pubs in Ireland are closed on Good Friday.

There is no drink to be taken on this particular religious holiday, in a country that goes dry for the day.

It has become, quite simply, a habit, and we all know how hard it is to break old habits.
The door to a Good Friday pint
Drinking being all but illegal in Ireland on Good Friday, you should not be surprised that the more clever among us have found a work-around to the alcohol restrictions. Every year on Good Friday, several intrepid souls purchase a train ticket, and never board a train. They remain in Dublin's Connolly station, one-way ticket in hand, and pretend that they are waiting for the next train to Drogheda.

You have to have a ticket to drink in the railway station bar. No one says you have to actually use it.

Ireland recognizes the presence of tourists, who are either not Roman Catholic or do not come from the stifling traditions that make the Irish version of Catholicism what it is. Or what it was, to be more accurate. People visiting Ireland to take in the sights have not reacted well in the past to the shuttered pubs, closed only because of religious beliefs that are handed down by the same system that turned a blind eye to the incarceration of women for the crime of being too attractive to men.

A few pubs, therefore, are allowed to serve beer on Good Friday, and if you forgot to stock up your personal beer cooler on Holy Thursday, you'd be looking for just such an establishment. Not that you are an alcoholic, or could not live without a pint on one day of the year. It is the notion that an unelected body of men has such influence on secular legislation that you are denied something for no good reason beyond an outdated practice. So you pay your fourteen or fifteen euro for the chance to thumb your nose at the theocracy.

Think of the ban as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, only in reverse. If you are partying in the States on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the party comes crashing to a halt at the stroke of midnight. As abrupt as that.

In Dublin, the party starts at 12:00 pm on Good Friday, marking the almost-end of Lent. And if you're young, midnight is just about when the party usually starts anyway. It's only the old ones who belly up to the bar at ten or eleven at night. 

Them, and the radical heathens who buy a one-way ticket to anywhere in Ireland just so they can sit in the station pub and drink when they aren't supposed to be drinking.

No comments: