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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog

Drinking Culture in Ireland

February 03, 2019

Author Name

Thalia Dunbar

Author Program

Ireland: Social Sciences

Program Semester and Year

Spring 2019

Student Major


Ireland, Dublin

Before I got to Dublin, I mentally prepared myself to be surrounded by places and people that were almost completely different from the US. I prepared myself (not well) for the infamous Irish rain that I have yet to see. I had my Irish friends teach me about the local slang so I wouldn’t be caught off guard by words I have never heard before.

The one thing that I wasn’t quite prepared for was the drinking culture in Ireland. I knew that casual drinking in Ireland (and most of Europe) is much more common, but I was still shocked when my Irish friends wanted to go to a pub at 1 in the afternoon. I hesitantly said yes, expecting to maybe have one drink if at all. When we got to the pub, I expected to be one of the only groups of people there so early in the day, but yet again I was surprised by the number of people there on their second (or third, or fourth) pint. My friend wasted no time ordering a round for the group. I slowly sipped my Guinness, not wanting to get completely drunk while the sun was still out. Not halfway through my first pint, my friends ordered another round and asked if I wanted another. Thankfully, I said no. When I went out with them for a quick smoke, we were surrounded by middle aged people who were casually drinking (chugging) multiple pints of Guinness and chain smoking like I had never seen before. 

The longer I have been in Dublin, the more I have noticed that drinking isn’t a big deal like it is in the US. Pubs open early in the day, and it isn’t frowned upon to have a pint or two with lunch. Going out for a pint is like going out for a coffee back home. While I would like to understand and assimilate into the Irish culture throughout the semester, drinking a pint at 1 in the afternoon is not a habit I plan to adopt.

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