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North East study finds Irish are "compelled" to drink on St Patrick's Day

Irish people may feel compelled to drink alcohol to celebrate St Patrick's Day, whether they want to or not, a North East study has revealed.

Even those normally teetotal will feel duty-bound to drink as alcohol is romanticised in Irish culture, according to Northumbria lecturer Matthew Kearney.

Mr Kearney's research found that everyone who took part in the research celebrated St Patrick's Day and many used up credit cards and borrowed from friends and family to support the celebrations.

Even those who said they were teetotal the rest of the year felt compelled to drink alcohol to celebrate St Patrick's - a day when it is estimated that more than 13 million pints of Guinness will be drank around the world.

"Alcohol consumption, when placed in the context of Ireland, becomes instantly romanticised, attributed to one's underlying Celtic soul.

"Ireland is synonymous with alcohol; although Ireland boasts world heritage sites, Titanic museums and the birth sites of numerous authors and poets, its most popular tourist attraction is the Guinness Storehouse.

"When Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip make a point of publicly enjoying a Guinness experience while visiting Ireland, it starts to become even more apparent that alcohol consumption is so completely intertwined with 'Irishness'."

– Mr Kearney, from Coleraine in Northern Ireland