The pub: where all men are created equal for the duration of their chosen potion
Two friends of mine are going to watch the US presidential inauguration at their local next Friday - and are promising not to emerge until January 20, 2021.
Yep, they're not exactly ecstatic about where the world might be heading over the next four years. Regardless of where you stand on the incoming Trump administration, the lads' resolute stance does underline the sacred status the pub continues to play in Irish life. For all of us, there comes a time when the cosy hospitality of a friendly boozer makes the perfect hedge against the fickleness of human existence - be that marital discord, global politics or the never-ending pain of supporting Scunthorpe United. As WC Fields so memorably put it: "A woman drove me to drink, and I never had the courtesy to thank her."
In fact, January is one of the best months to wallow in the myriad joys found only at your local hostelry - the hen nights have folded away their L-plates, the rugger-buggers are still polishing their Dubes ahead of the Six Nations and the never-ending gaggle of tourists from Tokyo and Nebraska are still a world away searching for the cheapest flights.