Today is Good Friday as most of you know. It's one of the few days we get off school in the States but most other places of business are open.
Not so in Ireland. It's the one day of the year that all pubs, off-license (liquor stores), and any restaurant that sells alcohol of any kind is closed. It's a 'dry' Holy Day.
I tell you this because I found it so odd and also because it shows you how seriously the Irish government, Irish Church, and correct me if I'm wrong, but most Irish in general, take Good Friday.
It is a day of mourning and redemption. Of being repentant and thankful. On my first Irish Good Friday, Paul was off work. We went out with some American friends to lunch and were astonished to find that every pub and restaurant were closed for business, even though it was a perfectly rare and gorgeous Friday in March. We ended up eating at a sandwich shop and twigged it when we tried to order wine with lunch. 'No drink on Good Friday.' So it was.
Turns out that particular Friday was the most drunk I ever was in Ireland. We went to the corner shop, bought all their limes and went to our friends' house for margaritas. Lethal. Sitting in the fading afternoon, overlooking Dalkey Island from floor to ceiling windows, the tequila went to our heads. The walk back to the train station, meandering down the hills at dusk, I imagined all the penitent souls peeking at our debauchery through lace covered windows.'Ya just don't drink on Good Friday, sure ya don't.'
It was because of this that I was shocked to hear that the Irish government were considering loosening the Good Friday rules on pubs this year. The reason is that a national rugby match, Munster v. Leinster for those of you who are interested, is to be played tonight. Just think of all the money not spent, euros not pumped back into the struggling economy if the pubs were to be closed today. Looks like Limerick got an exemption for the day and this incredible move even made US news.
Is this a slippery slope? I only wish I could be in Ireland next week to hear the talk; on the news, radio, and streets of town.