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Dublin: 11°C Thursday 22 April 2021

Revealed: British to blame for Ireland's drink problem

A University College Dublin study found students from traditionally British areas of the country are more likely to binge drink.

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THE IRISH MIGHT have a reputation for downing more booze than our international counterparts but a study has found it could all be because of the British.

A comprehensive study of drinking habits by University College Dublin found Ireland’s long and complicated relationship with the alcohol may date back to when the country was under British rule.

The survey of 3,500 students with an average age of 21 found Irish third level scholars were more likely to binge  drink than their foreign contemporaries  studying in Ireland.

However, when researchers examined the reasons behind the increased alcohol consumption they found links to Ireland’s colonial past.

The Pale

Students from regions inside the historical boundaries of “The Pale” were more likely to binge drink than those who lived in more rural areas, according to the study

The UCD research also used cricket clubs as a measure of British culture and found students living in Irish towns with cricket clubs drank more than those who did not.

“Importance of the Pale would supply evidence that heavy drinking practices may have been imported from the UK and that heavy Irish drinking was partly imported through the influence of British culture,” the survey said.

Comparatively, students drank less if they came from more traditionally Catholic regions of the country.

“An increase in number of masses reduces drinking while a larger county vote in favor of the divorce law increases drinking,” according to the study.

The survey also found boys who attended either all boys school, boarding schools or Church of Ireland schools drank substantially more than other male students.

Elsewhere, the research confirmed Irish weather had no influence on student drinking patterns.

Annual volume of drinking by county

Pic via UCD Geary Institute Discussion Paper: Why do some Irish drink so much?

Read: Impact of harmful drinking on Irish children ‘a national scandal’ >

Read: Glass shape influences how quickly we drink alcohol >

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