It is beyond a national hobby, it's a way of life. Quaint Irish pubs that have low ceilings and are the size of a bedroom dot the cities and countryside while Dublin's infamous Temple Bar heaves with tourists.
St Patricks Day is without a doubt the day you want to be in an Irish pub experiencing the craic with the guiness flowing, music playing and a real party vibe.
While the Irish are incredibly hospitable and love nothing more than a perfectly poured Guinness and the "craic" (Gaelic with no exact translation apart from it being fun and laughter in social situations), excessive booze can turn into violent fights, drink driving, sexual assault and terrible accidents.
Not an ideal way to end a holiday.
The Irish are so friendly, charming and fun, especially with a few under their belt, that they make for such entertaining company you may not want to leave your position holding up the bar! But while they may be match fit and can easily neck pint after pint, you could find yourself legless and worse for wear in the bathroom, driving the porcelain bus.
This can be particularly risky when you are travelling on your own and in an unfamiliar town, or in a big city like Dublin.
The last thing you want is for your belongings to go "missing" because you're so tanked you left them at the bar with a stranger and don't know what's happened to them, and you can't pay for or remember where you are staying.
And if you manage to keep hold of your stuff after a skinful and find yourself swaying and stumbling down the cobbled streets at night, you could become an easy target for a mugging. As mentioned under crimes and scams there are group of hoodlums known as "knackers" who frequent tourist hot spots and pick off prey.
Be mindful of anyone who tries to show you a "short cut", obviously this isn't a crime unique to Ireland. If you're going out for a night on the town, try and go with someone. If not, just watch what you drink, keep your wits about you and know when to call it a night.
Like most other western countries, it's a crime. The limit in Ireland it is 0.08 and there are random breath tests. So don't think because you are in a country where there's a bar on every corner and whiskey is liquid gold that there won't be cops on the street targeting drink driving. If you do happen to be well over the limit, and get arrested, spending the night in the police "drunk tank" is hardly a postcard moment for the folks back home.
Have some options to get home safely before you down too many Jameson's. Driving yourself is not one of them.
Now that religious and social expectations of this predominantly Catholic country have softened in the last generation, no sex before marriage is a rule that has been mostly abandoned by young Irish people. But their carefree attitudes to unprotected sex has led to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.
If you are up for some holiday "romance", take your own condoms. In Ireland they aren't cheap and not stocked widely, especially after hours when you need them.
A warning to male and female travellers. Ireland is generally a very safe country to travel in on your own, but there are limits to the risks you should take, and like in any other country, accepting drinks off complete strangers is one of them.
There are many easy and effective ways for someone to spike your drink and depending on the drug used, the effects can be debilitating very quickly.
The most popular drugs used to spike drinks are Rohypnol and Ketamine. The first is nicknamed "roofie" and contains the powerful sedative flunitrazepam that will knock you for six if secreted in a drink. It is also known as the "date rape drug" as women become so incapacitated that the spiker easily has their way with them.
Ketamine is a horse tranquiliser and when taken with excessive amounts of alcohol can be fatal. So much for the "craic" then.
Just be careful with how much alcohol you consume, don't leave your drink to have a dance and come back and drink it afterwards and generally don't accept drinks from strangers. If you are being chatted up and enjoying the process, buy your own drinks or if he buys yours, watch them being poured and delivered.
If you do find yourself in trouble or have been sexually assaulted, contact the police on 112.
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