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A drink in Ireland

Tá mé ar meisce

How to say "drunk" in Irish English....

"A drink" in Ireland usually means a pint of beer.

Er, well, it means more than one pint, of course — but that's international.*

But, a drink is a pint of beer — and you drink it in a pub.

The pub is without competition at the center of Irish social life. Naturally, not everybody drinks; but there's no subtlety to the fact that the Irish people generally do drink more than most.

And yes, alcohol does cause problems. That's natural. But the trouble that drink causes in the Irish is not on the same order of magnitude as the trouble that the same quantity of drink would cause in many societies. The Irish have been drinking for a long time, and are probably genetically inured to much of the damage.

And, it's cultural. It is normal, acceptable, and respectable; there's no shame in it, and that in itself is healthful. (A taste for the drink and a shame to go along with it is a great recipe for disaster, in my opinion.)

I'm not implying that the Irish don't get drunk and stupid and puke and fall down and even drink, drive and die. That does happen.

But generally, drink is an avenue to a good time, and an occasion for togetherness.

And it can be a lot of fun.

— May 2002

"Ireland has the second-highest per-capita rate of drinking. The only country whose people drink more is the Czech Republic. Ah, you can just tell by looking at them... a bunch of lushes."

— from an Irish radio station.


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* "A bird never flew on one wing," they say in Ireland.

On the Continent, you may find it common to have a glass of beer in the afternoon. You might have two.

But in Ireland, going for just the one is a perilous affair.

But, as they say, "there's no harm in it."

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