It often takes an outsider to tell it as it is and comedian Des Bishop is certainly doing that with his new four part series, Under the Influence.
In his third episode on Thursday on RTE 1, Des travelled to the US to see how the Irish drink over there: the same apparently – copiously with abandon!
And though the New Jersey-born and Dublin-based comedian makes us laugh out loud at his observations, it is really no laughing matter.
Des, who presents the programme made by Galway man, Pat Comer, travelled with paramedics in Dublin’s city centre, visiting A&E departments in the first programme; and in the second, filmed the Irish celebrating Arthur’s Day last year in a bid to understand our relationship with drink.
He made a good point in that episode – why would Ireland, known for its drinking and pubs, devote another day to the celebration of drink? It’s all down to good marketing of course and us Irish are suckers for it.
We have the Heineken Cup (called the H Cup in France as they refuse to bow to the drinks sponsorship), we have Guinness sponsoring many sporting events, including GAA, and then we have Bulmers telling us that drinking their cool apple drink brings on the Summer.
Honestly, when you see our relationship with alcohol and the general public attitude to drunkenness, it makes for cringing viewing.
I think Des gets away with it because he admits he liked to drink himself once and went into rehab at the tender age of 19. He has lived here long enough, long enough to learn how to speak Irish (more than many can claim) so he knows us and he is a likeable fella.
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.