We have some strange laws here in Ireland.
They have been tidying them up recently and I am delighted to say that it is no longer illegal to go fight in the Spanish Civil War.
There is one law that they refuse to repeal though and that is the one that forces pubs to close on Good Friday.
That law is a hangover [sorry – couldn’t resist that] from the Good Old Days when Ireland was priest ridden and effectively governed from the archbishop's palace. The archbish wanted pubs to close on Good Friday so close they did, and still do to this day.
If you remove the religious overtones from the concept, then the law in effect states that drink shall not be served on the Friday before the first Sunday after the first full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. Got that? It's simple really. Just try to explain it to a foreigner though!
Simple as it is, they wanted to make it even simpler and the law provides exemptions for people traveling by train or boat, or if there is a big football match on. Hotels are also exempt but you have to have a meal with your pint which makes it even more expensive than usual. Five pints are fine but try eating five dinners at the same time and the bill soon racks up. So this means that our serious drinkers have to spend the day traveling up and down to Cork on the train all day. Alternatively they can take the ferry to Wales where probably a lot of 'em stay as this law doesn't exist there.
We are fast approaching the centenary of 1916, and of course we are to be inundated with commemorations and tacky shows and God knows what [to be honest I am fucking sick of the subject already] so it’s a fair bet that we will be receiving quite a few extra visitors over that weekend. The whole point of this exercise is, after all, just an excuse to suck visitors to Ireland and reef their wallets [you didn’t seriously think it has anything to do with history, did you?]. So all these visitors are going to arrive for the long weekend, to enjoy the atmosphere [!] and visit our famous pubs, or at least those pubs that remain open after the smoking ban decimated them. How are they going to feel when they find those same pubs are closed, and it's all the Moon's fault? Tourist offices, b&b owners and hotel receptionists are going to have great fun explaining that little conundrum to their customers.
Of course those of us in the know have our own ways of dealing with this little law.
Some will stock up on the Thursday before when supermarkets will do a bigger trade than on Christmas Eve. Others know of shops that have accidentally slipped a few bottles of wine and whiskey under the counter.
And isn't it amazing how many pubs have back doors?