IRELAND-Despite a lagging economy and a culture that heavily frowns upon the consumption of alcohol, top economists are projecting that pubs in Ireland will experience a slight increase in revenue tomorrow. The increase is expected due to St. Patrick’s Day, an Irish holiday that, until recently, remained in obscurity to both the rest of the world as well as the Irish people. Commemorating the day that St. Patrick allegedly drove the snakes out of Ireland, all schools and major businesses in the Emerald Isle will be closed. Even so, many analysts are puzzled as to why, in a poll of over 50,000 Irish citizens, an alarming number claimed that they would spend the holiday inside of a pub. “In general, this is certainly out of character for the Irish people,” said Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, “but last year, five percent of the country spent the holiday in a pub, which was a four and a half percent increase from the festivities in 2009, so I think this whole drinking thing might be catching on over here.”
Kieron Slattery, a professor of psychology at Trinity College in Dublin, believes that the Irish are drinking on St. Patrick’s day out of fear. “This is no different than when motorists engage in rubber necking,” he said. “The people of Ireland go to the bar once a year to remind themselves of why they shouldn’t. The simple fact is that with the exception of Iran and Saudi Arabia, there’s no nation on the planet that disapproves of drinking more than Ireland.”
Ken Foley was born in the Irish city of Cork. Now living in the United States for more than a decade, he is saddened by what has become of his homeland. “People ask me, ‘What’s the big deal? Only five percent of Ireland drinks alcohol, and that’s only once a year.’ Well, that’s one day too many” he said. “When I came to the United States, I vowed to not only abstain from alcohol, but to stay away from any place that served it.” When Foley was asked how well he did with that promise, he changed the topic by talking about jazz.
March 16, 2011