St Stephens Night is always a big one in Leitrim's towns, villages and local pubs. Everyone is so sick of an entire day cooped up with their family that they are mad to get out and let loose.
If you are heading out on December 26th for a few sociables, see if you can spot some of these traditional favourites.
1. Get in early
"What time did you start at?" ... "Are you long out?" ... "Who's out?"
Depending on what charity match you were at, or mass or family dinner you could be starting the "night" in the pub in the early afternoon. Getting started early means you know who is out, what time everyone started to arrive at and you are probably ahead of the 'getting merry' game.
2. Catch up
Now if you didn't get started early and you actually waited until night time to get your first drink in, you may have to play "catch up." This means everyone around you is already in a very merry humour and you are feeling sober (a little bloated) and have probably already missed all the craic from earlier!
3. New Clothes
Look at everyone in their new shirts, jumpers, dresses, tops and shoes. St Stephens Night is like a catwalk for all your lovely new clothes you bought or received. Everyone looks well dressed, which makes any spillage onto velvet shoes, trendy coats or flashy handbags all the more devastating.
4. Look who is home
Don't even bother flying half way across the world to come home to family, if you are not going step out for a few on December 26. Forget New Year's Eve, this is the night you meet old friends and new. There will be slaps on the back, screams from across the room, hugs, kisses and long conversations with people you have not spoken to in years. This is what makes St Stephens Night so special.
5. When are you going back?
You are barely home/ off work when everyone is asking you when you are leaving again! Your answer will be met with either "God you won't find that" or "That's a great break." Either way you now start to think about your return to work or flight back and this may result in you draining your glass a lot faster than you anticipated.
6. Making plans
You are home/ off work for a few days, you meet an old pal/ acquaintance/ got stuck talking to someone and you make plans for the next day or New Year's Eve. You probably meant it at the time, but when you wake up on the 27th you will go to the ends of the earth to cancel!
Staying in your own round of drinks with friends will prove impossible St Stephen's Night. Somewhere along the line, someone from outside the group will buy you a drink, you will then obviously have to buy them a drink back. Now who's round are you in? Utter confusion!
So who is driving? If you don't have a designated driver, then you will be sitting on the kerb eating a burger and curry chips until dawn. Getting home St Stephen's Night is impossible - so don't plan anything early for the 27th!
9. Social Media
I know most nights result in photos on social media these days, but don't forget EVERYONE is out St Stephens Night and that means everyone has photos online. Despite the hangover, sore feet, and tiredness wake up early and trawl through your social media feeds to untag those dreadful photos of you being merry and bright!
10. House Party/ Lock in
What is it about St Stephens Night - no one ever wants to go home. It doesn't matter how long you have been out for, you will join the chorus of chants for a lock in! If that fails (it usually does) then volunteers will be sought for a house party. The person who volunteers their home usually live way out of town/ away from the pub, but despite the challenges you will make it there and then instantly regret your decision and long for your bed.
Happy St Stephen's Night!
For information about alcohol and drinking responsibly in Ireland, visit drinkaware.ie.