21st Birthday party

Marie playing the fluteIn the states, a person’s 21st birthday is a big deal: that’s the year you can drink alchohol.

In Ireland it’s a big deal too. It’s the year you can . . .

um, . . . drink more alchohol?

I went to a good friend’s 21st birthday party last night at the local rugby club. You’ll have to forgive me if the writing on this post is a little blurry – everything seems that way this morning. The event was well-attended and the craíc was mighty. Until 5am mighty. Good lord above save us.

I was there also in a musical capacity as one half of Five Finger Discount. As the night wore on, many members of the crowd revealed themselves as equipped musicians and joined in a great conflagration of tunes, including the birthday girl (left) on a very able flute and Irish whistle.

Here in Ireland the 21st birthday was traditionally the age at which a child was given keys to the house. It was a significant celebration of one’s coming of age. Irish 21st birthday cards often feature the image of a key. As opposed to the states where 16 is a biggie (ability to drive and get married), 18 is a biggie (legal adult/ability to vote/join the armed forces) and 21 is a biggie (alchohol), here in Ireland it seems to be just 18 and 21. The driving age here is 18 instead of 16. On the other hand, the drinking age is 18 instead of 21.

So let’s see – Irish people drive two years later and drink three years sooner. Doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, does it?

Well, I’ve got news for you: at 5am this morning it sure seemed like they could have waited another couple of years.

5 finger discount plays marie's 21st