Title popularly given to the latter half of the day on which the Irish Junior Cert results are released (this year, September 13, 2001 - tbc). This night of excessive drinking and debauchery occurs when the tens of thousands of elated students (14-16 years old) who received their results encounter the drink culture of Ireland. Parents generally see this as the one night to keep their little son (or especially little daughter) indoors, and yet the majority end up loitering around the streets of Dublin, Cork, Galway and other Irish cities.

Capitalising on the event is the media, and in particular, the radio late-night talk shows, who send a reporter onto the streets to 'interview' the intoxicated children. The hope, presumably, being that the slurred ramblings of pleasure-seeking students heard over the airwaves will be enough to galvanise even the most liberal parents into a short-lived spate of uninterrupted listening.

In reality, however, this night simply brings into focus the ongoing problem of underage drinking in Ireland. It's the only night during which the effects can be readily witnnessed by the passerby. The sight of children lying around unconscious on the streets of Dublin seems to catch the public imagination year after year, but only for a day or two. The fact is that the majority of 15 year olds in Ireland do drink alcohol socially on a regular basis. This is mainly the result of a centuries-old culture of drink, intensified lately by the excessive advertising and targeting of the youth market by major drinks companies.

The legal age at which a person can be sold beer in Ireland is 18; the age at which spirits can be sold is 21. This makes little difference to the underage students, who generally have their drink bought for them and consume it on the city streets on this night. Of course, pubs and clubs will be impossible to get into unless students happen to have a fake passport or driver's licence lying around (although the new, much-hyped 'Age Card' seems to be a weak link in the chain, having been apparently forged within days after its release last year). Hence, the streets of Temple Bar and the Grafton Street area, in particular, are targeted by roaming bands of drunk students moving for every possible encounter with members of the opposite sex.

You can see part of this unique night (albeit from a distance) by visiting the Dublin webcam at http://www.ireland.com/liveviews/liveviews/index.htm. However, this site becomes overloaded and goes down, every year without fail, a few hours into the night.

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