St Patrick’s Day Tips for Safe Celebrations

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St Patrick's Day is just around the corner. Whether you're heading to your local parade or spending time together with family at home, the long weekend offers a welcome break. If you decide to drink alcohol, read our three top tips to be more mindful during any celebrations, and advice to keep in mind if you need to drive the next day.

  1. Be mindful during celebrations: Think about the messages you are sending around alcohol, particularly at home. More social occasions over the long weekend can bring more opportunities to drink alcohol in your own or a loved one's home. As a child’s number one influence, parents have a proactive role to play in shaping more mindful attitudes towards alcohol.

  2. Alternate each drink with a glass of water: This can help to reduce the dehydration associated with alcohol. Keep a jug of water handy to make this easier, and keep your guests' water glasses topped up.

  3. Stock up on non-alcoholic options: Have plenty of visible non and low alcohol alternatives for adults to help reinforce that alcohol isn’t the only option and is not needed to have fun or celebrate. There is now a wide variety of wines, spirits and beers to take advantage of so it’s a good time to make the swap.

Driving the next day

Almost half of all arrests for driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI) take place between midnight and 6am, while 1 in 10 DUI arrests are made between 8am and 2pm, with a peak on Sundays. The time of your last drink at night will affect when it is safe for you to drive the following day, so there could still be alcohol in your system.

  • Your body can process one standard drink in one hour, but this should be taken as a guide for information purposes only. There are many factors that will affect this time including age, gender, weight, alcohol strength, the speed of your metabolism and the number of drinks consumed.
  • One standard drink is a half pint of beer / glass of wine (100ml) / pub measure of spirits (35.5ml).
  • There is nothing you can do to remove alcohol from your body any quicker, only time. Common myths are that drinking coffee or having a shower will sober you up but these are simply not true.

Read more about drink driving

Know your drinking

During bank holiday weekends people often drink more alcohol than usual, over a shorter period of time (i.e. binge drinking - six or more standard drinks in one sitting). Are you drinking within the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines? Just 2% of Irish adults can correctly identify the guidelines, but they are important and can help you to see how much you are really drinking in an average week. Remember, these are guidelines - not a target.

  • 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days

Try our Drinks Calculator to find out if you are drinking within the guidelines