Ahead of St Patrick’s Day, Drinkaware, the national not-for-profit organisation working to reduce alcohol misuse, is calling on the Irish public to challenge the Irish drinking stereotype this weekend and consider a more mindful approach to drinking alcohol during the nations’ biggest festivities.
With the Drinkaware Index showing one in five people now wanting to cut down on their alcohol consumption and the popularity of zero-alcohol drinks growing in Irish pubs, there is a clear cultural shift and change in mindset around alcohol in Ireland.
Drinkaware has three top tips for less harmful drinking this St Patrick’s Day and throughout the long weekend:
- Always use a measure for spirits or wine. Never free-pour – this can make it almost impossible to know how much you are drinking. Order one for free
- Alternate each drink with a glass of water to reduce the dehydration associated with alcohol. Keep a jug of water handy to make this easier.
- Stock up on non-alcoholic alternatives for you and your guests. There is now a wide variety to take advantage of so it’s a good time to make the swap.
Drinkaware CEO, Sheena Horgan said: “St Patrick’s Day is all too often associated with alcohol and can be widely accepted as an excuse for drinking excessively.
“The Drinkaware Index shows that 44% of the drinking population in Ireland consume alcohol in a harmful manner. But despite this, we can see that the appetite for drinking alcohol in moderation is growing.
“So far this year, over 74,000 people have used our online Drinks Calculator to understand their drinking habits, which is a 275% increase on 2018. This is not merely coincidence – there is a movement in Ireland towards more mindful drinking and more than half of Irish adults who drink alcohol, now do so within the HSE low-risk guidelines.
“The long weekend also provides more opportunities to bring the family together at home, which makes it more likely that children will be around adults who are drinking. Harmful drinking is a habit formed from a young age, as the Lancet report published this week highlights. Attitudes towards alcohol in the home are a big influence on young people, especially during celebrations like St Patrick’s Day.
“Drinkaware plays an active role in educating and supporting people to make more informed choices about alcohol. St Patrick’s weekend will be an important moment for us to demonstrate how we can celebrate without the excess.”