Drink and St Patrick’s Day

Green beer
Green beer

A pub is absolutely no place for children. Unfortunately we’ve not grown up enough as a nation to be able to see drink in a healthy way. St Patrick’s Day is the perfect example,

At a parade in Donegal, along with all the good examples of communities coming together, there were some pretty disastrous shows of parenting.

Is there anything more cringeworthy than a clearly intoxicated mother or father pouring affection on a child who would really rather just be somewhere else.

No, there isn’t.

I’m a parent. I get it that there are glorious sunny days when the idea of sitting outside a nice bar with an equally nice glass of wine sounds like bliss. But I also get the fact that if I want to do that, I sort out babysitting arrangements first.

And yes, I’m lucky in the fact that I have a great support network and plenty of people I can ask to babysit.

If I didn’t? Well, I’d take my kids to a park on a sunny day, or to enjoy something family friendly.

There are certain luxuries you have to give up when you have a family, pinting for six hours on the trot as if you were a student is one of them.

Instead, in sorry scenes across Donegal on Tuesday there were adults happily getting drunk - some of them extremely so - while their children had no option but to sit back and watch and get a euro thrown at them every once in a while by way of a treat.

At one point I watched a woman quite skilfully manage to balance a pint in one hand, a cigarette in the other and at the same time, shove her six-year-old onto a bouncy castle using her knee - while shouting at him.

That was probably the most grim sight of the day.

St Patrick’s Day has some good elements to it, the community parades, the floats, the carnival atmosphere of bigger city parades in Derry. But for the most part March 17 has become a microcosm for our ongoing dysfunctional relationship with drink in this part of the world.

I enjoy a drink. I enjoy a good night out. I enjoy socialising. But the drink is secondary. It doesnt’ define a day or night out.

I’ve been out for dinner and had a glass of wine with my family while my son was there.

I really couldn’t imagine sitting for hours, doing nothing but drinking, while my children ran around me.

I hate the way we tolerate it. They way it’s acceptable. You wouldn’t drive down Moville Main Street drunk out of your head but it’s ok to be in charge of a a much smaller, vulnerable human being?

But sure there’s no more fitting way to celebrate being Irish, is there?