2017 Update: You can find the updated list for 2017 via this link.
Has that law not been overturned yet? No. Not even for the 1916 commemorations? Nope. Ah well.
Here we are, once again, with a list of ways to get around the Good Friday prohibition on alcohol. Some of these options are loopholes in the law, others are just common sense and good planning. We were certain that the prohibition would be lifted for the celebrations this year, but alas it was not to be.
1. Go to the Ireland v Switzerland football match
The Aviva stadium will be allowed to sell beer inside the ground for the friendly match versus Switzerland. The match kicks off at 7.45 and there are still tickets available. Link.
2. Go to a pub in a train station.
Madigans in Connolly station and the Galway Hooker in Heuston station can both serve alcohol for the day to people who have an inter city train ticket. You can’t just use any old dart ticket, you must have an inter city one. And yes, they will be checking.
3. Go to the greyhound racing
Harolds Cross greyhound track, because of the license they hold, are exempt from the prohibition on the sale of alcohol. They open from 6.30, with the first race at 7.40. General admission is €10.
4. Have a meal on a boat on the Grand Canal
La Peniche restaurant on a boat on the Grand Canal was open last year with a full bar all day. They’re open all day, but you have to book in advance. Their lunch package is €35 per person for a 3 course meal, and €42 for dinner. Link.
5. Take a ferry to Holyhead
This is where it gets a bit silly. You can legally buy drinks on the ferry over to Holyhead as it’s exempt from the intoxicating liquor act as it relates to Good Friday. It’s a lovely part of Wales. Honestly….
6. Drink in the airport bar
This involves buying a cheap flight abroad. If you’re visiting Ireland for the weekend, you might be able to avail of this on your way in and combine it with some of the other options featured here.
7. Get a drink in a hotel
Hotels are allowed to sell alcohol, as long as it is accompanied by a meal. The letter of the law states that you can only consume or order alcohol while the meal is ongoing. It’s best to check ahead with a hotel whether they can do this for you on the day. It’s likely you’ll have a better chance as a resident of a hotel.
8. Have a house party and buy drinks the day before
So this is the most obvious way around it, and you’ve probably already though of it. Still, it had to be said.
9. Go to Shelbourne Park
This one is a mix of going to the greyhound races and going to the Ireland match. Shelbourne Park will be open from 3.30 for dog racing at 5.00, followed by a screening of the Ireland match with special guest Tony Cascarino at 7.45. There’s a full bar and tickets are €10 at the door or online.
Exemptions that are no longer valid.
Pubs opening at midnight
In recent years some pubs were able to open at midnight. Fibber Magees and The Turks Head used to be able to open, but for the last 2 years they haven’t been granted a license to open at midnight after Good Friday. Unfortunately, it’s the same again this year.
Drinking in a military canteen
It used to be that members of the military could get served in their canteen, but this is no longer an option.
Drinking in a theatre
Theatres used to have exemptions, but that was rolled back a few years ago. If you’re going to the Gaiety or the Olympia, don’t expect the bar to be open.
BYOB at a restaurant
Although some restaurants have tried to do this in recent years, the Restaurants Association of Ireland have told them that they’re not allowed.
You can still go to some pubs and not drink. We have made a list of pubs that will be open on Good Friday to serve food. Link.