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Irelands drinking culture and why is not drinking stigmatised?

  • 09-04-2023 5:47pm
    Registered Users Posts: 801 ✭✭✭Relax brah

    Drinking is often seen as part of Irish life and culture. We have pubs on every corner, and many activities are centred around drinking.

    The fact is, because drinking is so widely accepted, it can make not drinking seem strange. 

    There is also a presumed connection between sober people and those who have had issues with alcohol. Some people assume that if you choose not to drink, then that is because you have a problem. 

    This is certainly not always the case. Individuals may have many sorts of motivations for choosing to distance themselves from alcohol. There is also often a connection between non-drinkers in drinking populations and mental health difficulties. As we de-stigmatise and normalise caring for our mental health, we also increase acceptance of those who choose not to drink, whatever their reasoning.

    As someone in his mid 30’s who decided to stop drinking alcohol last year. I do in alot of cases feel like an outsider, you always get people giving you sh*t or being “no craic.”



  • Registered Users Posts: 862 ✭✭✭redlough

    To be honest sounds like you are hanging around with the wrong people.

    The 0% club is growing and growing. Anyone saying someone is no craic etc for is not someone you really want to be hanging around with.

    Also with the introduction of so many 0% beers/gins etc its not like people need to know.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,037 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    I think the government should read out the alcohol related statistics every night like they did during covid:

    - number of people who died today directly related to alcohol abuse

    - number of people killed or horribly wounded in alcohol related car accidents

    - number of families destroyed due to alcohol dependency

    - number of suicides due to alcohol today

    - number of indirect deaths, serious illness due to alchol today

    - number of violent attacks, rape ... alcohol related

    - unwanted pregnancies

    - stupid "I was drunk your honor" excuses in court

    - ...

    Really it goes on and on.

    Was strange seeing lockdows for covid when we have a much bigger problem in the country.

    Edit ... I've done really stupid things because of alcohol. In hindsight I was really lucky. Had many great nights ... but things could have gone differently. Also, it's so easy to fall into a "this **** life is good enough" short sighted mode with alcohol.

    So, if you are wise you can have your cake and eat it, but for many luck is not on their side and any benefits are lost ... especially as you get older and if you keep drinking. It's a mugs game.

    Post edited by SuperBowserWorld on

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,369 ✭✭✭prunudo

    It takes a certain personality to be craic without alcohol. But tbh, when I'm a non drinker in a group, I find anything longer than 2 hours, and its usually time to be looking to leave anyway. They're on a different wave lenght, they're probably starting to repeat the same story and their craic isn't worth hanging around for, so if I'm no craic in their mind, no worries. I'll be awake in the morning with a fresh head, they won't.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,043 ✭✭✭mcburns07

    Exactly, grand to be out for a few hours drinking 0% but as people become more and more inhebrirated it's tough going.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,436 ✭✭✭dartboardio

    Binge drinking is massive in Ireland and Europe, so much that its almost conditioned/drilled into you from a young age, I'm only 25 and already have faced huge issues with my alcohol intake and borderline addiction problems - which yes is not anybody elses fault but now I live elsewhere and already noticed the huge difference being in a place where not everybody binge drinks from a young age.

    It's really sad and I don't know how it can/will change, but things seem to be heading in a positive direction with an awful lot more 25-35 year old giving up alcohol completely. Many people including myself, took a long time to ever even register the benefits of not having an alcohol intake, in fact its confusing as to why we even pump ourselves with this poison in the first place.

    I started drinking heavily/often from the age of 15 years old, which is disgraceful I know, but I believe if I didn't grow up in a country where that's common, it wouldn't have been an issue

    I remember my Turkish boss used to ask me why I liked drinking so heavily on the weekend and I put it down to 'culture' now I know that was my own issues but it IS more acceptable than in other cultures. Especially the whole 'binge drink to get as drunk as you can' before going out.

    Look at any major city in Ireland on a Saturday night and the people are like zombies, pissed drunk, can barely walk, food spilled all over them. That is NOT normal and shouldn't be tolerated/accepted but here we are.

    I shouldn't be 25 years old and congratulating myself for going 2 days without a drink, that's why it's my responsibility now to remove these habits from my life.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 34,887 ✭✭✭✭o1s1n
    Master of the Universe

    As someone who is a drinker with some non drinking friends it can just a mismatch between the wavelengths you are all on a night out.

    Drunk people can be really annoying when you are sober. But on the flip side, sober people can also be really annoying when you have been drinking.

    The trick really is to find some friend groups that fit in with your lifestyle.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,043 ✭✭✭mcburns07

    Definite really annoying? 🤣 no craic is it?

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,548 ✭✭✭✭Galwayguy35

    How about busybodies fook off and leave people alone, they won't be happy until its illegal to have a drink.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,997 ✭✭✭✭Potential-Monke

    I noticed it myself when I gave up drinking over 6 years ago. When I say gave up, I just stopped drinking, I've no interest in it anymore, and I've come to realise how bad it was for my body, mind, and pocket. And it's not until you stop drinking you really see how alcohol is the centre of nearly everything. I understand it, there's feck all else to do in this country aside from drinking, sports or nature. Not saying there's none, but outside of Dubland there's little that interests me that doesn't involve alcohol.

    Saying that, I've a wedding this year, and a stag, so instead of make a tool of myself at the stag drinking for the first time in over 6 years, I did a dry run of drinking 2 weeks back. Handled myself well, but the following 3 days reminded me why I no longer like it. Grand during, but my whole body was angry with me after it. At least I know I can still handle it somewhat if needs be.

    But it is changing. I see my nieces and nephews, most don't have an interest in drinking. And those that did quickly got over it because they realised the waste that it is. Each to their own and all that. I could see many, many more give it up if they ever get around to legalising cannabis. Because at the moment, there's not much else legal outside of drink to help you forget how crap life can be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,960 ✭✭✭✭elperello

    So much guilt.

    If you feel like a drink have a drink.

    If you don't feel like a drink leave it out.

    It doesn't have to be complicated.

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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,708 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    Buddy of mine moved to Galway. He was on about me moving over for a job but, aside from the criminal cost of living, there looks to be little to do except get drunk. I had the same experience in rural Ireland. I lost all interest after getting hungover at the end of 2019. Just don't see the point anymore.

    The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

    Leviticus 19:34

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,267 ✭✭✭✭Tony EH

    Irelands drinking culture and why is not drinking stigmatised?

    Because it isn't a terrible as some people would like you to believe. Irish "drinking" culture is centred around socialising with other people. The drink aspect of it is secondary. Plus the vast majority of Irish people will tend to drink beers, which is considered the "soft" drink in many other countries. If you go abroad to some other places, you'll see what drinking means to them. In Norway, they augment their beers with a drink called Aquavit, a hard spirit. Booze there costs a lot more than here and the bars are still full. In some states in the US, you'll be looked at in a weird way if you only drank beer. In some parts of eastern Europe beer is for kids.

    We Irish have a bad reputation for drinking that goes back many years. But that reputation is largely unfounded and there are many other peoples that could easily drink us under the table.

    The thing is we Irish like to have fun and that's what brings us to the pubs. Because there is a type of lively fun that occurs in Irish pubs that's kinda unique. Ask most foreigners what they think of Irish pubs and by and large they'll give you great feedback and Ireland would be a far, far, duller place without it.

    In short, Irish drinking culture isn't stigmatised because it doesn't deserve to be.

  • Registered Users Posts: 350 ✭✭iniscealtra

    I think it’s a double edged sword like most things. It’s great to be social and Irish people love to talk. Drinking can go too far and for some it can consume their lives. I like the pub, meeting people but I also like small local festivals in the summer when you can sit around outside and chat in the sun with no drinking. I also think its better to learn some skills / have interests and hobbies that are active. Plan now is to learn some music - keep me busy in the winter evenings.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,955 ✭✭✭✭Spanish Eyes

    I think sometimes that drinkers can slag you off for not drinking, or call you a "dry sh!te" etc. when out, because when you are not drinking it highlights their own over indulgence. Has anyone felt similar?

    Anyway, no judgment, do what you want within the law and don't be annoying people, and handle yourself well is all I ask for.

    As I get older I really notice how practically everything in this country (and probably others aswell) revolves around alcohol consumption. But that's life. As a pp said, surround yourself with like minded people. Be sociable with drinkers, but only stay to a point where you are not bored rigid! A place with live music is a good bet, well for me it is!

    And to finish - a hell of a lot of drinkers think that if you give up booze or don't drink that you are a recovering alcoholic. That's one of the reasons it ain't easy to say no I don't drink, especially in the company of people you don't know too well. Assumptions are often made.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,074 ✭✭✭bcklschaps

    OP, if your friends slag you off for not drinking, then they are just slagging you off, don't over think it. Now why your friends are slagging you off in the 1st place is a different question and whether it's just lads having the bants or lads actually bullying/harassing you are two very different things.

    On a general point, I find that I have two types of non drinking friends,

    - Guys who are off the drink for a specific purpose eg. have some important upcoming work/social/sports event, or simply have to get the car home that night.

    - Guys who are simply not able to drink in a responsible way and can't touch the stuff. These are the alcoholics who once they start drinking can't stop and could be on the lash for days OR people who just go fecking crazy with even a mouthful of gargle eg. Verbal Diarrhoea /fighting/vandalism /sexual weirdness

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,267 ✭✭✭✭Tony EH

    Having a hobby or hobbies is always a good idea. But there's nothing to say that it's either the hobby or the pub. Both can co-exist quite comfortably. And if the hobby is physical, then all the better.

    As for drinking consuming people's lives, well that's entirely down to the individual. Some people shouldn't drink. In fact they probably shouldn't do any type of activity that involves being "high" in some manner. But that's down to the person themselves and the choices they make. Some people are just susceptible to crutches. Of course, I'm excluding something like heroin and other hard drugs, because they will fuck you up in some way, no exception.

    However, the vast majority of people can drink all of their lives and it won't become a life destroying thing for them. They can go out and have a few pints, talk to friends and other people and head off home. They'll regulate their intake, but when that starts to become an issue it's probably time to ease off.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,871 ✭✭✭✭nullzero

    Drink is fine in moderation. Peoples interpretation of the word moderation is the element most open to interpretation however.

    I rarely drink these days but enjoyed being drunk in years gone by however if you told me I could never have another drink for the rest of my life I wouldn't care either.

    There would appear to be some evidence that non alcoholic beers etc have become more popular in recent times which probably has some relationship to the notion that there is stigma associated with not drinking but still a gradual move away from excessive drinking which can only be a good thing in the long run especially with regards to how alcohol consumption affects the health care system in this country.

    Post edited by nullzero on

    Glazers Out!

  • Registered Users Posts: 473 ✭✭Ramasun

    The pub culture is a good thing. We were better off when alcohol was only taken in the pub, not before and rarely after.

    You get used to taking alcohol around other people and get on without drama. It seems to be a forgotten skill.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,457 ✭✭✭beachhead

    Drinking is stigmatised in Ireland.You,only have to listen to constant hammering by the drink aware type groups,wives/husbands/boy-girlfriends reported as getting beaten up;road deaths(all from drink,well mostly,it seems),stabbings,drownings on radio,tv and web.Not to mention the leading questions put to tourists coming here about excessive drinking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,378 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    True… What killed that though ? Basically publicans and the greater industry… once pints started going north of 5.20 or so, for a glass of liquid…a lot of people just went… “ I can spend 26 euros on 5 pints… or 12 euros on 6 cans……without inconveniencing myself….

    at home you can have your comfort, get in a few snacks, feck around on your console, watch a match, stick Spotify on…. Or a combination of all the above…..Do the aforementioned with friends, or do it alone….. and not feel like you are having the piss taken out of you…

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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,369 ✭✭✭prunudo

    Funny how many posters can't read the op's title. He doesn't want drinking to be stigmatised, he is asking why not drinking is stigmatised.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,075 ✭✭✭Mister Vain

    Attitudes are starting to change as more and more people are getting into health and fitness. Gyms are ubiquitous now whereas they would have been very much a fringe activity during the celtic tiger days. Nightclubs are almost non existent now as well.

    My own experiences with drinking in Ireland have been mostly negative but that was probably more to do with the people I was drinking with more than anything else. I always enjoyed it a lot more abroad where the alcohol was secondary and I wasn't just getting drunk for the sake of getting drunk.

    I agree with @o1s1n about finding groups that fit in with your lifestyle. Easier said than done of course.

  • Registered Users Posts: 801 ✭✭✭Relax brah

    I know right? Some people only see what they want to see.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,260 ✭✭✭pgj2015

    I only drank properly around 3 times last year. I met this foreign woman last year and asked her on a 2 night trip away, before we went, it turned out she didn't drink, I was looking forward to having a few drinks as I hardly ever take time off work, then I figured out that she was anti drink and was going to be judging me for having a few drinks so I called off the nights away, fcuk that I'm Irish, even though I hardly ever drink these days, its our culture to let loose every once in a while and im not having someone sitting there judging me for it.

    I have one friend who gave up drink a few years ago, he just takes drugs now any time we head out to a gig which is kind of funny when you think about it.

    Post edited by pgj2015 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,436 ✭✭✭dartboardio

    The source of all my alcohol problems '**** it I'm Irish' hence the thread... lol.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,013 ✭✭✭eggy81

    There would be a revolution against all government within a matter of years if alcohol was banned in western society. It’s the tranquilliser of the masses.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,755 ✭✭✭lbunnae

    The smugness of non drinkers is gas , it's like it's a hobby of theirs or part of their identity , fack off.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 38,708 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    Who's suggesting that alcohol should be banned?

    The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

    Leviticus 19:34

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,013 ✭✭✭eggy81

    No one. I’m just saying if it was banned I reckon something big would eventually come out of it. Maybe we’d all get more productive rather than any sort of revolution. Who knows. Imagine the hours lost to procrastination borne out of alcohol consumption.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 801 ✭✭✭Relax brah

    What drugs is your friend now taking?

    Alcohol is technically a drug too