I caught a red eye flight yesterday morning from Dublin Airport and my first action was grabbing a strong double espresso to kickstart my half-asleep body.
As I waited bleary-eyed for my caffeine fix, the chap beside me was ordering a pint of Guinness for himself and a white wine for his partner. Nothing unusual about the order apart from the fact that it was 5.30 in the morning and this couple had clearly also recently woken up.
A quick glance into the seating area confirmed what I'd seen hundreds of times at this hour in Dublin Airport: people drinking pints all over the place.
Now the last thing I want to do is sound like the fun police. Like most Irish people, I've consumed unhealthy amounts of alcoholic drinks in all shapes and sizes, but not once has it occurred to me to have a drink before the the sun has even come up while waiting to board a flight.
Irish people seem to see it as some sort of badge of honour and that's only been accelerated by social media and the inevitable pre-flight drinks photo.
It's probably just for their Facebook checkin!
— Claire Gorman (@clairemgorman) August 2, 2016
it seems so excessive and tryhard.
— Chris Greene (@HateChrisGreene) August 2, 2016
The old Thomas Reeds in Terminal 1 had a decent pint of Guinness. For many, the last decent pint for a long time...
— Clay Smith (@dclay) August 2, 2016
Maybe I'm missing something here. Maybe these people are all superb drinkers who wouldn't feel any side effects for the rest of the day, but if I had a couple of pints at that time of the morning I'd need to go back to bed in a heap for hours.
Surely people can wait the couple of hours it takes to whisk them to their summer destination. I wouldn't even begrudge them a little tipple when up in the air and actually en route, but why the need to try get steaming drunk at 5.30am?
It isn't just a couple of rogue heavy drinkers or groups heading off on their first lads holidays either. Look around the bar in Dublin airport and it's a cross section of Irish society. One lad even had a gin and tonic yesterday while I sat there. A gin and tonic at 5–fucking–30 in the morning?
Anyway I'll stop ranting on about it, but the inevitable is already happening. The real fun police have gotten wind of this and not only are they going to ban early morning drinks, but they want to ban all drinks at airports. Apparently people have been getting too drunk and wrecking the place before boarding their planes.
On the walls of Dublin Airport are signs wishing people a safe trip and hoping they come back soon, set to stunning backdrops around the island. I can't help but wonder what the tourists are thinking looking at us all trying to escape the country, drowning our memories of the place in booze before we even leave.