It’s that time of year in Ireland when news websites are filled with sassy headlines such as “Good Friday: Where can you get an elusive pint while pubs are closed?” and “Lots of pubs flout Good Friday ban.”
But after 90 years, could this be the predominantly Catholic country’s last “dry” Good Friday?
The government is supporting legislation to end the ban on Good Friday alcohol sales in 2018. That’s a policy shift for officials who have long favored the prohibition, while pubs, restaurants and other businesses pushed for its demise.
“Not being able to go to the pub on Good Friday is a farce,” wrote Colette Sheridan, in a column for Cork’s Evening Echo titled: “All drinkers will raise a glass to end of Good Friday prohibition.”
The legislative ban on alcohol sales on Good Friday, St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas was enacted in 1927, largely because of a push by the powerful Catholic Church and out of respect for the day’s religious significance. Good Friday, of course, is a solemn day for Christians marking the crucifixion of Jesus. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. And Jesus’ birth is commemorated on Christmas.
By 1960, the ban of sales on St. Patrick’s Day was lifted because of “waning church influence and growing commercial pressure,” according to an editorial in the Irish Times. If the Good Friday measure is adopted, expect a battle over Christmas.