Fun Conducted in the Designated Manner

Ever since the EU welcomed all those eastern bloc member states you previously didn’t know existed into her generous bureaucratic bosom, Ireland has become home to disproportionately large numbers of their citizens. Even my tiny local town of New Ross boasts two Eastern European grocers where one can buy Elk Jerky and the Polish edition of Playboy.
Some time ago, somebody who is in charge of this type of thing declared excitedly that the Poles, Lithuanians and Latvians (collectively) made the second largest immigrant group in Ireland. I could have told them that last May; didn’t they notice Ireland’s Eurovision scoring?
As part of this new excitement it was decided that to help these foreigners integrate better, a survey would be undertaken to find out what they did and didn’t like about living in Ireland. Obviously they didn’t want to bother asking the largest immigrant group because they’d say sensible things like “You are backward, propagandist, ignorant peasants who need to shape up, sort out your organised crime and stop pretending the British invaded you.”

Anyway, our survey said that something these immigrants disliked was the Irish emphasis on drinking when having a good time. This is also something I could have informed them about a long time ago.
If you go out in rural Ireland, you go to the pub. While in the pub you drink. At the end of the night you head home and park your car in a hedge.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t drink. It’s why I’m at home with my PC on a Friday night instead of out seducing the local estate agent (something you’d think he’d be a little more grateful about). When you don’t drink, there are few more unpleasant ways to spend an evening than in a pub paying extortionate amounts of money for a glass of juice and watching other people becoming slowly horizontal. Try it for yourselves and you’ll see what I mean. At least in UK pubs you can conduct a game of darts, skittles, dominos or any one of a thousand unexpected and pointless diversions (including stroking rabbits if you’re in the Freefolk area) but very few Irish pubs seem to bother with those facilities. Anyway, if you are in the pub it is to get drunk. Best they don’t have darts really.

I’ve mentioned this problem to many people over the years and they generally agree with me that it is terrible that there isn’t anything to do but drink. Then they wish me well and go to the pub.
I can’t blame them. There really isn’t anything to do. When the Boys were here and I was telling them all about the exciting things I was going to show them I listed a hill, a lighthouse, a headland and a field. Fortunately there was a cow in the field and they are especially weird children keen on healthy outdoor pursuits, so it wasn’t the most boring thing they’d ever experienced.

Sadly, I don’t think the drinking culture is ever going to change. In Ireland the pub is the centre of everything. Whenever anything happens, it happens down the pub. If you make a business deal, it’s in the pub. If you want an electrician, check the pub. Looking for some bloke to stab? He’s in the pub although his body will wash up downstream in a few days time.

Still. At least it means I’ve plenty of time to blog, eh?