Saturday 3 December 2016

Alcohol and me - the truth: Rosanna, George Hook, Al Porter, Gerald Kean and a host of other famous people come clean

Published 17/10/2016 | 02:30

Comedian Al Porter. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Comedian Al Porter. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Gerald Kean.
Rosanna Davison
Sinead Moriarty. Photo: Ronan Lang
Terry Prone.
Zoe Ash Browne. Photo: Dave Conachy
Helen Cody. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Joseph O'Connor
Ruth O'Neill of Xpose
‘Xposé’ presenter Cassie Stokes
Maire Treasa Ni Dhubhghaill
Nuala Carey.
George Hook
Francis Brennan
Joanne Hynes
Mary O'Rourke.
Darren Kennedy.
Tatiana Ouliankina
Lorraine Keane.
Funnyman Brendan Grace
Daniella Moyles wears: Swimsuit, Penneys. Photo: Kip Carroll.
Vogue Williams

Alcohol and how much of it we drink is a touchy subject in this country. Elle Gordon asked some well-known people to talk to us honestly about their drinking habits. These brave souls tell us how much they imbibe, their favourite tipple, why they drink, how they deal with hangovers and the 'Fear' and their feelings about giving it up for good.

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Al Porter

Comedian, writer and radio presenter

I would like to drink less than I do. I don’t think that I have a problem with alcohol because any time that I take long periods off drink, I don’t worry about it, and it’s certainly never affected my work. But I find that I take social drinking to quite an extreme level. I would drink every day and at the weekends. You could add a bottle of wine to that and add in some gin and add in some rum. I would be a real social drinker, absolutely.

I never drink before I go on stage because I think I was always warned against it. All the older comedians warned me: ‘Never get into the habit of drinking before you go on stage . . . we got into the habit of it and we all ended up with problems. It became a crutch.’ I never drink before I go on stage, except for maybe coffee and water, but after a show you’ve got this huge adrenalin high and there’s no way you could go home and watch Netflix.

After a gig, lots of the big shows have after-parties that could go until two in the morning. Or it might just be you and a few of the crew going next door for a drink. Even when you’re not gigging you get invited out to gigs, and of course you want to have a drink at that, or, especially in England, you want to meet someone who works in the BBC. Of course sometimes you could be at all these things and not drink.

I do get drunk. I haven’t been very messy drunk in ages, but when I was 19 or 20, I was.

I remember one time a taxi driver recognised me asleep in a field near my house and woke me up. I had obviously got close to the house and then given up and decided to have a kip in the field. He woke me up and said: ‘Maybe I should drive you home’. But that’s the last time I ever tried whiskey. Never since then have I had a really drunken night where I thought, ‘God, I really regret that’.

I do get a hangover but I have so much work to do that I don’t have time to go to bed and feel sick and sorry for myself. The worst kind of hangover is not the little bit of fuzziness, it’s the Fear and that kind of pity and shame and guilt, and that, ‘Oh God, what did I do?’ I don’t have that because I act as outrageously sober as I do drunk, so there isn’t any big difference in my behaviour sober and drunken behaviour. I’m inclined to pull my underpants down and sing a funny song on a table in somebody’s kitchen. I’m just as likely to do that whether I’m having a gin or not. So I don’t get the Fear . . . . sure I might get a bit of a headache.

But I’ll always try to ward off the hangover by having a pint of water beside me and I’ll drink that. Then I’ll have my Alka-Seltzer, Berrocca, and honey and lemon tea and just get on with the day.

My favourite drink is probably lager. But I drink everything. I drink red wine, white wine, gin, everything except whiskey. I think that whiskey, for me anyway, is too much of an emotional drink. Whatever part of your brain whiskey taps into it’s certainly not the crack.

My hangover cure has to be a dirty chicken roll from Centra.

Could I imagine my life without alcohol? This is one of the questions my Doctor has asked me and this is one of the questions that my psychoanalyst asked me when I was in therapy. If somebody dared me or said that they would give me money or as a challenge to give up alcohol for a year, I’d do it tomorrow. Because I’m very competitive. But I don’t want to imagine my life without alcohol; I’d be quite a bad role model, because drinking a lot isn’t really harming me.

Rosanna Davison

Nutritional therapist and food blogger

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During my time at UCD, in my early twenties, I went through my party phase and drank more frequently than I ever would now. I definitely drink far less than I did then. I don’t drink alcohol on weeknights and I could go for weeks without having a drink. On weeks I do have a drink, it would be a few over a meal on a Friday or Saturday night with friends or family. I would generally save it for more special occasions, such as a wedding or on holiday, rather than just watching TV. Therefore, it feels like more of a treat. I have to admit that I don’t go to pubs or clubs very often these days!

I can’t stand the feeling of being drunk, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I actually got drunk. I have a very clear switch-off button, so the minute I feel tipsy, I move straight on to the water for the rest of the night. The idea of being out of control or not remembering the night really scares me. With alcohol, I can take it or leave it. I’m just as happy to drive on a night out as I am to leave the car at home and have a few drinks. Again, I can’t remember the last time I had a hangover either. I don’t drink wine because I find it quite sugary, or cocktails, so I tend to stick to a lighter drink like vodka with soda water and lime, plus I always drink water alongside alcoholic drinks. So I find that combination definitely helps to hydrate the system.

I never feel hung-over after a night out, so I continue as normal with my day. My rule is that if I do have a few drinks, it can’t affect my ability to function the following day. That’s where drinking lots of water and drinking moderately is the best approach for me. I feel that drinking starts to become a problem when it affects your brain and body the next day. I really enjoy a glass of Champagne on special occasions, though.

I don’t use drinking as a reward. I love to have fun with friends when the occasion calls for it, but I enjoy it sensibly and never let it affect the rest of my life.

Sinead Moriarty

Author, columnist for the ‘Irish Independent’

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I drink a lot less than I used to. Since having children I find that feeling rotten the day after a big night just doesn’t work. Being hung-over ruins the whole next day — you feel awful, you eat junk, you don’t have the energy to do anything much and it’s not really fair on your kids.

It depends what I’m doing but I would usually only have a few glasses of wine when I’m out for dinner with friends.

Sometimes I have a glass of wine at home in front of the TV, but it tends to make me sleepy.

I mostly drink wine but sometimes a cold beer on a hot day can be lovely. Or a hot port on a cold day is very comforting, too.

I don’t use drink as a reward at the end of the day, but after a long or difficult day a glass of wine can certainly take the edge off.

Nowadays I don’t drink much and

to be honest I don’t really miss it. I thought I would, but Ireland is changing, people don’t drink as much as they used to. The drink-driving ban definitely changed the way people viewed drinking and has caused people to cut down a lot on their alcohol consumption.

Terry Prone

Chairperson, The Communications Clinic

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I gave up drink at 17. An older man, observing me take a flute of Champagne at an RTE reception — I was just about to present my first radio series — commented that I was planning to go into the two lines of business (showbusiness and journalism) which allowed you to be an alcoholic for free.

Thought about that. Put the glass back, still full. Copped on that because I have such an addictive personality, I shouldn’t drink at all.

The only problem with that was how not drinking revealed how mind-bendingly boring most of the social events I had to be at were. So I stopped socialising, too. Which got me out of smoke-filled pubs long before the smoking ban. Saved money. Giving up booze was a lifelong liberation in one easy move.

Like most teetotallers, I swamp food in alcohol. My Grand Marnier souffle is to die for. And you might die waiting for it because I’m too nervous to make it for others, too guilty to make it just for me, and the man in my life is contemptuous in roughly equal measure of souffles and Grand Marnier.

If I did drink, I’d never drink gin because gin drinkers age quickly and gin drinkers who smoke develop a powdered pumice-stone look like a battered prehistoric statue. I’d never drink stout because my uncle Dermot introduced me to it at Christmas when I was six and I’m still not fully over it, because I expected it to taste of chocolate with cream on top and it so didn’t. I might go for cider, because one of the women I most admire is a cider drinker.

Helen Cody

Fashion Designer

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I think if I lived in LA, where they live on green juices, people would think I drink more than I should; but I don’t think I’m excessive.

I drink the same now as I have for years, without the wild nights out I had when I was in my 20s.

I’m probably quite French in my drinking habits, only wine, usually red, never mixed with anything else. I only really like drinking good French wines. I rarely drink Champagne unless it’s a special occasion, and even then I may decline it, as I hate hangovers.

I adore cooking and I love wine with dinner, it’s such a lovely accompaniment to conversation. I don’t go to pubs, except the Horseshoe Bar in The Shelbourne, which is so cosy in the winter. I suppose I like rituals — the fire lighting, candles, great movies, delicious food and good wine.

I don’t like feeling drunk, but that’s not to say I don’t get drunk ever.

Hangovers are not worth it! I

work too hard for that. What’s the cure? Big walk in the Dublin mountains or Sandymount with the dogs, and then the best breakfast in town in Bibi’s cafe off the South Circular Road. Delicious!

I could imagine not drinking but it’s as much a social thing as anything in Ireland. People ask: ‘Do you want to meet for a drink later?’

Joseph O’Connor

Novelist and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick

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I drink far less than I used to in my twenties, I’m happy to say. When I think of the hours I wasted talking gibberish (and listening to it) in the pub, I weep. I dislike being around drunks. They bore or frighten me.

As a teenager, I worked in late-night restaurants and saw a fair bit of drunkenness and the stupidity and violence it causes. There is one and only one good thing about the Irish dysfunctional relationship with drink, which is that it has enriched our language. To be scuttered, mowldy, blutered or locked is not quite the same thing as to be, in that marvellous phrase, ‘gee-eyed’.

I drink several glasses of red wine nightly at the weekends, rarely during the week. It’s great reaching the age when you stop caring about what people think of you because then you can stop going to the pub and pretending you enjoy it. And you can stop participating in that accursed Irish male phenomenon, the boastful recounting: ‘Man alive, some night we had at the niece’s wedding. I had 19 pints and a gallon of Bacardi and woke up in a builder’s skip. Mighty crack!’

I was in Toulouse at a literary festival back in April and I was in mildly literary state by the end of the evening. Which happened the following morning. At dawn. The drunkest I have ever been was in August 1985, aged 22, in Nicaragua. The evening before I returned to Ireland, I went out drinking rum and stayed up all night doing that and saying my goodbyes. I was still drunk when I got on the plane at noon the next day, still drunk when we landed for refuelling in Cuba four hours later and the hangover began to kick in just as we landed in Shannon. It’s a rare day when you can claim you were drunk in three countries.

I haven’t had a hangover in years, in fact since I was a student. The reason is that, during a very bad one, I offered God two options: (a) kill me now; (b) get me through this and I’ll never get so drunk again. He chose b. The best description of a hangover is in Kingsley Amis’s novel Lucky Jim. ‘Dixon was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection. He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning. The light did him harm, but not as much as looking at things did; he resolved, having done it once, never to move his eyeballs again. A dusty thudding in his head made the scene before him beat like a pulse. His mouth has been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.’

The best hangover cure is lovemaking. If that’s not available, a very cold Lucozade. If both are available, you’re in for a fun morning.

In terms of my favourite drink, It depends. In a New York bar, a Rolling Rock beer or a Moscow Mule. In Galway, a pint of Guinness.

I’d miss a glass of Italian wine but I can easily imagine not drinking. For health reasons, my father doesn’t drink, and I don’t think it has affected him negatively at all.

Nuala Carey

RTE weather presenter and National Lottery presenter

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I would only ever have a drink if I’m meeting someone for a bite to eat. I would say once a week I might meet a friend for dinner, or else I would be going to a launch or something. I’d drink a glass of wine then, so that would really be as much as I’d have per week.

Growing up there would have been very little drink in our house. My mother never drank at all so I would have never seen her sip anything in all my lifetime. My Dad would have a little glass of wine on special occasions, but I’ve never seen my Dad holding a pint of beer in his whole life. It would literally be a glass of wine, I’d say no more than 10 times a year.

There was never a drinking culture in our house. If people came to visit we would never have had spirits in the house. We’d have bottles of wine; but it just wasn’t a big part of our lives. My parents would never go to the pub at the weekend or anything like that. They weren’t into things like that so I suppose I inherited that from them.

If I’m at a social occasion, you might see me being photographed with a glass of wine in my hand — nine out of 10 times I’m holding that because I’m not really sure what else to do with my hands. I think it’s nice to use a prop. Getting drunk is something that I have no interest in.

I think drink can affect me actually quite quickly because I am quite slight. I can’t afford to get out of control. I don’t think I have that much tolerance for alcohol because I’m not that used to it. I never want to get myself into that position. I don’t like it. I suppose I’m really busy as well. I don’t have time to have a hangover the next day.

They say as well that if there are any health benefits it’s in a glass of wine, it’s in the first one. If you have the second one you’re not getting the benefit, so I always say, well, I’ll have the one.

I wouldn’t know that much about wines but I like a really dark, strong one. I like Malbec. I don’t really use drink as a reward. I might say to myself, you have had a long day so you can go for an Indian or Chinese. I would tempt myself with food as it is more satisfying.

If somebody said to me today, for whatever reason, you can never drink alcohol again for the rest of your life, I wouldn’t be upset. I would just say, ‘OK, fine’. But if they said you could never have a piece of cake or chocolate ever again, I probably would cry.

Darren Kennedy

TV presenter, style entrepreneur

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At the moment, a mixture of things including being quite focused on health and trying to hit the gym five times a week, means my lifestyle isn’t really conducive to drinking. This summer I went on a week-long fitness and well-being retreat in Ibiza and didn’t consume any alcohol. Dance class at 7am in the morning with Madonna’s former choreographer was pretty intoxicating.

In my university days, when I was living in France, I was practically pickled all the time, and a summer spent in Toronto was alcohol-infused. Nothing out of the ordinary for a student, I guess. Nowadays I wouldn’t drink a fraction of what I did then. I simply don’t have the time or the inclination. I work at a very quick pace between several cities so I’m often travelling and need to be on top form.

A lot of my work involves getting out and about with plenty of booze on offer, so if I wanted to I could be out boozing every single night of the week, but I consciously avoid it. I tend to try stick to sparkling water. When I’m working I try to make my time as productive as it can be, so I don’t really do midweek drinking and I’d rarely have a drink at home.

On my down time, I like to cook, have friends over and chill out and I do enjoy a few drinks with friends at the weekend. I’m very conscious of balance in my life, so I do plan time to let loose with my mates.

Wine is the devil when it comes to hangovers for me, so I avoid it at all costs. A lot of my days off are spent minding/chasing my nephews and nieces, so on those days a hangover is totally out of the question.

The best hangover cure is anything that involves eggs, sausages and plenty of spice. I adore anything with a kick in it, with Mexican and Thai food being my favourites.

My favourite tipple is a Tanqueray 10 gin, tonic and lime, straight up. Keep it simple and clean.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most important), I reckon drink is a 2 for me. I’d be perfectly fine without it and could easily not drink.

Tatiana Ouliankina

Actress

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I feel that I drink less, much less, than I used to — two glasses

of red and I am flying around, not like the old days!

And my drink is Friday night over dinner out, and Saturday sometimes, but not during the week. I am that boring now.

I never drink any more in front of TV alone, I would fall asleep immediately.

I get drunk once a year and love the feeling of freedom.In Russia, guys cure a hangover with more drinks in the morning, but I never try this.

My favourite drink is Bacardi and Coke or mojitos, but red wine will do in Dublin.

I see drink as a habit now, not a reward. Friday comes and I know I’ll have my vino.

Never thought I would say this, but I can imagine not drinking. I only have to think of this glorious hangover morning, with bright light everywhere, and I’ll never drink again.

Lorraine Keane

TV presenter, author

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I try to stay within the advised weekly drink limit, so although I’d be very happy to have a couple of glasses of

wine with my dinner every night, I try to stick to one or none on weekday nights. Some food just tastes nicer with a glass of wine in my opinion. At the weekend I would have three or four glasses over dinner with family and friends.

I really enjoy being able to have a drink — it’s a social thing as well as something that complements food. Curry and beer; white wine with fish; red wine with beef or lamb. Everything tastes better with a glass of wine. It  can also be a relaxant after a busy day.

I believe our drink culture is changing. I think we are becoming more European in our approach to drink. It’s about moderation. Our generation should be leading by example. It worries me that it is still acceptable for a teenager to drink in this country way before the legal age limit: it’s like their rite of passage.

Parents need to realise that their children’s relationship with alcohol is influenced by what they see at home.

I certainly don’t do the binge-drinking thing that we did in our late teens and 20s. 

I never get drunk, but I would get merry on occasions. Alcohol, when drunk responsibly, is lovely, but I

hate losing control, so I’ll switch to water once I know I have reached my limit.

Yes, I have woken up feeling groggy, usually caused by not enough sleep, not enough food, not enough water, mixing drinks, cheap wine. Or all of the above — ouch!

What I should do for a hangover: Water, miso soup, fruit smoothie or juice. What I actually do: eggs Florentine, eggs and bacon, eggs and Ballymaloe relish — eggs, basically!

My favourite drinks would be Champagne and white wine.

Brittany Mason

Actress, activist, model and writer

I am comfortable with the amount of alcohol I consume. I would not consider myself someone who drinks a lot. I drink a lot less than I used to. I used to live in NYC and I feel like everything was surrounded by alcohol.

No matter what I was doing — a lunch meeting, dinner, or just hanging with friends — everything was surrounded by drinking. It was easy to drink everyday without even realising it, it was just part of life and culture there. New York is literally a city that never sleeps . . . and I never slept. I was also in my early twenties so I was really enjoying that time in my life. I felt like I never wanted to miss out on any events or opportunities in the city.

I would say I may have a couple of glasses of wine a week before bed, or maybe a couple of cocktails over dinner a few times a week at most. Sometimes I don’t even have a drink for a couple of weeks.

Sometimes I will drink if I am out at dinner, an event, a party, or maybe just a nice glass of wine to relax at home.

Even though I consider myself someone who does not drink often, I feel it takes a good amount for me to get drunk. I have been told I handle my liquor well. I never ever like being sloppy, so I know what my limits are and I don’t cross them. There is a difference between having fun and just being plain trashy and sloppy. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves. Don’t be that girl with filthy barefeet waiting on a cab because your feet hurt from heels and you’re too drunk to stand! No. No.

One of the feelings I hate the most is a hangover! I absolutely hate hangovers. I like waking up and feeling great the next day. If I have drinks with a lot of sugar in it I sleep terribly; I usually wake up throughout the night. This is why I do not drink as much as I used to.

Don’t get me wrong — on a very special occasion it’s nice to have a big night out, but I do everything possible to avoid a dreaded hangover the next day. I have noticed a major difference in my skin and body since I cut my alcohol intake. I feel so much better about myself. Alcohol is one of the worst factors for cellulite, plus it dehydrates you. I like taking care of myself, my body, and my skin. Dehydration is one of the major causes of wrinkles.

First, always drink a ton of water and two pain killers before bed, hangovers are caused by dehydration. Other things that work, Dioralyte for major dehydration, eat breakfast (bananas are good for potassium), sleep, also try and sweat it out in the sauna, or, my personal favourite, Bikram yoga. If all else fails: ‘hair of the dog’.

My favorite cocktails would be an old-fashioned, a spicy margarita, or a dirty martini. If I am drinking wine, my favourite is a nice cabernet sauvignon.

Alcohol is nice in a social environment or a nice way to relax; however, I could see myself giving up alcohol.

Joanne Hynes

Designer

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I haven’t drank improperly or substantially in five years now so I am pretty alcohol-intolerant. I have had a very odd glass of wine along the way, but nothing to write home about.

I have just had a baby and have three small children at home so I haven’t had the time to entertain it. It doesn’t interest me.

When I was younger, as a teenager in college, I drank. I really don’t miss it. It used to be mainly at events or at friends’ houses or out, rarely at home. I have been drunk lots of times in the past, its a love/hate relationship. Growing up it was fun, dangerous and a brilliant way to bond with friends and build memories, in a way.

Its been so long I don’t remember having a hangover. Distraction is the best hangover cure! My favourite drink is brandy and Baileys. I don’t plan on drinking into the future.

Francis Brennan

Owner of The Park Hotel Kenmare

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Not a good candidate for this line of questions as I have been a Pioneer since taking the Pledge at 12 years of age. Lucky me, as being in the hotel business means drink is readily available, so I may have had a weakness!

George Hook

Broadcaster

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Alcohol is of little or no interest to me. I drink with food and little more. It is not part of my social life. If I drank any less I would be teetotal. Two pints of stout would render me insensible. Wine is certainly my favourite tipple and I enjoy a glass with dinner but I am just as likely to drink a pint of milk.

I hate pubs and the bonhomie and round-buying. Just recently I have tried a Dark and Stormy before bed. It is a favourite in Bermuda — rum and ginger beer. I become monosyllabic and sleepy when drunk, so I never reach intoxication.

Do I ever get a hangover? What is a hangover? The best hangover cure? No alcohol — no hangover. My favourite drink would be a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand. I could imagine not drinking. I would have been happy during Prohibition.

Maire Treasa Ni Dhubhghaill

Television presenter, TG4

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I don’t drink that much. I definitely drink much less than I used! During my 20s, I drank at parties and on nights out in college and as much as any of my friends did on nights out, but when I started working on the rugby show six years ago, which involves working at matches most weekends, I got used to going out and not drinking.

I would never drink the night before going on air, so it quickly became the norm and it never bothered me. I realised I could still stay out dancing and chatting and have a laugh, without the hangover!

When I do drink, it’s on the weekend, if I’m out with my friends, or I would have a glass of wine when I go out for dinner. I wouldn’t drink at home.

I can’t remember the last time I got drunk, but it has certainly happened in the past, more than once! I would mostly feel groggy and tired. With a hangover I usually crave spending the day on the couch eating popcorn and Maltesers.

At the moment I love gin and sparkling water. I’m not too keen on the taste of tonic, but I do like trying the different combinations of gin cocktails that many pubs have on their menus. If I were to have a few casual drinks at a festival or a match, I would more than likely have beer or any pale ale and with dinner I would opt for a glass of red wine.

Drink is not a reward for me. For me a reward is chocolate. I do like going out for a few drinks with my friends and letting my hair down, but equally I have become so used to not drinking on nights out that I can honestly say I wouldn’t miss it in my life in the slightest.

Gerald Kean

Showbiz solicitor

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I was never a heavy drinker. I have  always enjoyed a glass of wine with my meal or if I am out socialising. Since I committed myself to Celebrity Operation Transformation, I have taken no alcohol whatsoever.  I don’t miss alcohol, although sometimes it would be nice to have a glass of red wine with a meal.

I have no doubt that I will go back to drinking a glass of red wine when I have reached my target weight and my life is properly balanced.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was probably drinking the same amount of red wine every week as I have for the last 20 odd years. I don’t drink that much and very rarely can I ever remember myself being drunk. Red wine would be my favourite drink. I particularly like French bordeaux wines. My favourite red wine would be a Spanish wine, Vega Sicilia.

Zoe Ashe-Browne

Ballet dancer

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I have a very, very low tolerance for alcohol. If anything I’d like to be able to enjoy a drink more socially than I can. If I go out for a few wines with friends, nine times out of 10, I’ll feel it the next day.

I definitely drink more moderately now. When I was a teenager, at home in Ireland, I drank on weekends with friends. Once I got to London it became really infrequent with the intensity of the [ballet] training. Now I’ll enjoy one beer maybe twice a week, but no more than that. It depends how the week has been and whether or not I’ve the full weekend free, as we normally just get a Sunday or Monday off in the theatre.

I’ll have a beer with dinner in the evening if it’s not been too intense at work, or on the weekends with friends, but these days I’ll go weeks without having a drink when the season gets really tough. I just couldn’t function with the dehydration the next day in work.

Ever been drunk? Very rarely. Yes, but only because my body has never handled alcohol particularly well. So it would sometimes come on after a single glass of wine. It’s madness. Hangover cure? A cup of English breakfast tea with a bit of milk. A banana and

well-done toast with butter. And then tea, tea, tea. In the evening then, something like salmon and potatoes.

I love beer, especially because I’m living in Germany where the variety is awesome. For a cocktail, I love an Amaretto sour. Champagne for a birthday or Christmas morning drinks. But I wouldn’t be rewarding myself with alcohol just because I’ve had a hard day at work.

Mary O’Rourke

Former Longford/Westmeath TD

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I think I’m pretty average. I never drink during the week. I drink a glass of wine if I’m out to dinner — that’s when I would have a glass of wine. But I would never think of having one at home. It’s an occasion, like a treat with friends.

I go out on a Saturday night. I have great friends who are husband and wife. They were great friends with Enda and I, and thankfully we’ve all remained friends, even though there’s no Enda now.

So the three of us go out together for a meal to a nice restaurant on a Friday or a Saturday night and we would always have a glass of wine with that. He takes red, I take red, and his wife takes white, so we’ve a glass each and then we eat our meal and talk and chat and everything. It’s not much it’s just the one. We don’t feel like it anymore.

I was drunk once, almighty drunk. It was in Athlone. I can’t remember everything. All I remember is how bad I felt the next day. I vowed that never again would I do that. I think I was in my thirties — it was a festival occasion. I don’t know what made me do it but it’s the only time ever and I can remember the feeling of not being in control of myself and then I remember feeling so rotten the next day. But I never again felt like that. No, thank God!

That was a once-off. In terms of a hangover cure, I know I stayed low that day. I stayed quiet and didn’t talk very much. I made a big pot of tea and I drank gallons of it.

A glass of red wine is my favourite drink, an Argentinian malbec. A rare occasion like a christening or a wedding I would take a gin and tonic with lemon and ice.

As I’ve got older I have less of a taste for drink. Since Enda died 15 years ago I have lived on my own and so I would never take a drink on my own. The enjoyment of a drink for me is the chat, it’s the to and fro with people.

I could imagine a life without drink. I think it might be bit duller on a Friday or Saturday night. With food and with company you like a glass of red wine. It is just delightful.

Cassie Stokes

Television presenter, ‘Xpose’

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I feel like I drink less than I ever did. My tolerance for alcohol is definitely lower than it was this time two years ago. I do less binge drinking and more social drinking.

I don’t drink to get drunk, I actually like enjoying a beer every now and then. But then again, ask me on a Hangover Sunday and I will tell you I’m never drinking again!

How much I drink depends on the time of year. When it’s Christmas, I would usually consume a lot more alcohol than I would during the year.

I get drunk the odd time; I would describe me being drunk as me being tipsy. I don’t like being too out of control! I have had many hangovers. I would describe them the same way I would describe a maths test — some are easier than others but there’s always a formula that can help you out!

Is there really a cure for hangovers? I don’t think so, and I don’t think it’s at the top of the medical agenda. But, for me, I always cure a hangover with brunch, lunch, food, anything I can eat really. I also think a good laugh with friends helps a lot!

My favourite non-alcoholic drink is a glass of milk. My favourite alcoholic drink is a beer. Sometimes a drink is the perfect treat after a long day. There’s nothing like a cold beer.

Drinking is something I enjoy doing, but it’s not the be all and end all. I could definitely imagine myself not drinking in a few years time — there’s no better feeling than a Saturday and a Sunday without a hangover. I can’t imagine having a hangover with kids, so when I have kids I’ll be selective with my hangover days!

Ruth O’Neill

Television presenter, ‘Xpose’

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I think since I have moved back to Ireland from LA and New York. I have probably been drinking less. In LA and New York, I was out all the time. I was living alone, going out for dinner and drinks were a part of my social life. I used to be out networking non-stop, so I probably do drink less since I’ve moved back. But when I drink I like to enjoy myself.

I think there is way less of a drinking culture in LA. Everywhere in LA closes at 2am. If people are out they’re either watching their calories or they’re networking, so they want to have clear heads. I think New York and London are way more into night life and partying. But, surprisingly, I probably had the wildest years of my life in LA. Maybe it was because I was in my 20s; but I went to some crazy parties.

I think when in a city like LA, you’re anonymous, so you can kind of get away with a bit more as well. I don’t mean anonymous in the sense that I work in TV. I mean anonymous in the sense of bumping into people you know. Ireland is so small you can’t get away with much here.

I’ve been trying to be good and leave my partying for when I go to London or Ibiza or New York. You can let your hair down in a bigger city.

I’m a work-hard, play-hard kind of person. I’ll work really hard and then I love a good party. I like to enjoy myself. I think that’s the point of working hard — you want to be able to let loose afterwards. Hangovers are different in every city. In LA I would get up, put on sports gear and hike up Runyon Canyon and then go to yoga. You always sweat it out. In New York when you’re hungover it’s brunch. In Ireland you literally go from the couch to your bed, the couch to your bed. I think in Ireland when I’m hung-over I cannot move, I don’t know what it is. Ireland is just: ‘See  you on Monday . . . This day is gone.’

I love wine, a New Zealand sauvignon blanc, or a whiskey or a gin. I don’t smoke or do drugs, so I think a drink or two is fine. Later in life, with kids or more responsibility, you can’t really run amok. So I’m going to try and live it up for as long as I can.

Vogue Williams

Television presenter, DJ and model

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My drinking has changed. I really hate the feeling of being hung-over, so I try to limit what I drink when I go out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still happy on a night out when I go a bit crazy with my friends, but usually if I have had a really long day at work I will have a glass of wine with a friend.

I could have a glass of wine maybe two to three nights a week. It just depends. I definitely have a different relationship with drinking now than I did when I was in my early twenties. We used to just go out and go wild and binge drink. I try not to do that as much anymore because I just don’t have the time to do it.

I don’t have the time to give up a day to be hung-over.

I wouldn’t say I was drunk, but I was tipsy last week. I was out for dinner with friends and then I didn’t start drinking until about 10 and didn’t get home until about three. The next day I was fine. I wasn’t hung-over or anything like that.

I try to drink water during a night out because I do get quite bad hangovers. For me the hangover cure, depends on the level of the hangover. I would sleep as long as I could because sleep is the only thing to cure a hangover. But when you’re hung-over you never sleep in, so I would usually be up about 9.30am and I’d have bacon and eggs on toast.

The Fear is horrific, so that’s probably why my drinking has changed. I suffer from anxiety anyway, so drinking really heightens that. It’s awful; my anxiety will be really bad the next day.

I don’t want to be drinking every night even if it’s just one glass of wine. You could get in the habit of it, and there’s nothing wrong with it if you keep it to a glass.

But, to be honest, I’d rather have a Whole Nut bar and a cup of tea. On a night out, I would have a vodka with fresh lime and soda or vodka and a Diet Coke. If I’m just sitting in having a glass or two, it would be red wine.

Could I imagine myself not drinking at all? No, because I enjoy drinking.

I enjoy wine, it is a sociable thing. I know that’s a horrible thing to say —and I do have friends who don’t drink and they will still enjoy their night out —but I like drinking.

It’s not really an issue for me. I would definitely have a life with a lot less alcohol in it now.

Mick Mulcahy

Artist

I drink from lunch time on, every day. Some days it would be more water than beer, other days it might be less water and more beer. That would seem to some like I have a drink problem, but as a nation are we losing the crack and getting too uptight about it all? I have spent a lot of the last 40 years living and working in Paris, daytime drinking is the norm there. I’m happy anyway with the amount I drink. I’m heathy and have no interest in drinking less.

I used to drink whiskey when I was younger. Once, when living in Germany, I drank so much of that fighting spirit that I had to be hospitalised. There I met

a wonderful, non-judgmental doctor. He told me I’d such an endless amount of creative energy that I needed to focus it, and channel it into my paintings. This I did and in doing so I drink less. I guess some drinks suit us and some drinks don’t.

An acupuncturist has since told me that my system is fire, and hence spirits fire me up too much. This I find to be true. Still, my favourite drink is Captain Morgan, and the odd time I will drink it, just to enjoy the tomfoolery of being drunk. The next morning the cure is another drink. Sometimes we can take life too seriously and getting drunk can be a great stress-buster.

Once I was off the drink for 12 years and I was so bored I went back on it. I’m very sociable by nature. I like to meet and chat to new people. I can’t to that at home sitting by the fireplace. So for socialising, drinking is an important part of my life, but drink is not the be-all and end-all of my life.

Daniella Moyles

Breakfast presenter, Spin1038, model

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I very rarely drink during the week. I’m up at 5.30am, which doesn’t lend itself to a few glasses of wine in the evening, and on the weekends I’m generally travelling for work. If I’m lucky I’ll have a gin and tonic!

I went to college in NUIG and anyone who went there knows the stamina it helps you build with drink. I’m a saint now in comparison.

Generally drink is for an occasion, or if I go out for dinner I might have a glass or two of wine. The weekends that I have free to go out with the girls it would be a few drinks together, so I suppose it depends.

I would have a drink at the usual times: weddings, birthdays or celebrations. Besides that it would be festivals or other social occasions, like a rare and precious night out when I don’t have an early start the next day.

Do I ever get drunk? Honestly, not often enough for my age. I think it was the pain of hangovers that turned me off drinking regularly. My hangover cure would be orange juice, bacon and fresh air.

I drink red wine, gin and tonic, or a vodka, sparkling water and lime.

I wouldn’t really use drink as a reward. I don’t seem to get that same unwind from alcohol that I hear people talking about. If I was told I could never drink again today it really wouldn’t bother me. If you took my coffee away though, that would be another story.

Brendan Grace

Comedian

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Would I like to drink less than I do? That question is confusing — it seems to suggest that my ability to control my drinking is under pressure. Truth is that I enjoy an alcoholic beverage exactly as I enjoy a non-alcoholic one; it’s good to have a choice.

I drink less alcohol nowadays due to the fact that I’m older and calmer and I actually enjoy less intake of food and drink. I don’t like wine. If I feel like a beer, I enjoy having a beer.

I don’t drink at home unless it’s an occasion like a party or a celebration. My dear wife Eileen is the very same. I don’t like to drink alcohol with dinner. So a few beers in a pub with friends is great; but only on a high stool at the bar, never on a chair or a low seat. Am I odd or wha’?

It’s an oxymoron really, because I’ve been performing the ‘Drunken Father of the Bride’ routine for most of my professional career. So let’s keep the secret in place — is he really drunk or is he sober?

Do I get a hangover? That’s an ironic question too, as I now live in America a lot, I have, many times, been confused with the actor who stars in the movie The Hangover. But, yes, I’ve experienced the condition.

What’s the best hangover cure? Well, as I’m a comedian I must give the comedic retort to that question: ‘Stay drunk!!!’ I would suggest however a mug of tea and a well-buttered slice of batch loaf with Batchelors beans!

Tipple of choice? Guinness, naturally. After all, I was born and raised in the Liberties in Dublin where the smell of hops was so much more ever present than the smell of stew. And, coincidentally, Eileen’s dad Paddy was a brewer in Guinness’s and my own Da, Seamus, was a barman and they both were huge fans of it, too.

Drink is entirely unimportant in my life and, thank God, I’m just as happy having a pint as I am having a smoked cod and chips.

Sunday Indo Life Magazine

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