Heavy drinking has been a way of life in Ireland, long considered a natural response to 400 years of extreme poverty, starvation and persecution. But in 2003, in an effort to break the cycle and create a more family-friendly environment, Irish government officials enacted a ban on any promotional activity in bars and pubs -- such as two-for-one "happy hour" pricing -- that was likely to encourage people to drink excessively.
Centuries of drowning sorrows:
- Irish drinking patterns, particularly imbibing regularly to intoxication, have their roots in history. The living conditions of the Irish peasantry during the 17th and 18th centuries were abominable.
- Periodic famine led to life-threatening starvation, fatal diseases, loss of lands through eviction and banishment to inhospitable regions of the country.
- To dull the pain of hunger and humiliation, the peasantry drank home-distilled poitin, made from potatoes or grain. A poitin still could produce up to 12 gallons of Irish whiskey at a time.
More Info: Irish Independent
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