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Theatre and drink - it's a complicated relationship

The romanticised drunken characters of old have given way to a greater focus on addiction, writes Katy Hayes

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Drinking buddies: Captain Boyle (Michael Gambon) and Joxer (John Kavanagh) in a 
2004 Gaiety production of Juno and the Paycock

Drinking buddies: Captain Boyle (Michael Gambon) and Joxer (John Kavanagh) in a 2004 Gaiety production of Juno and the Paycock

Drinking buddies: Captain Boyle (Michael Gambon) and Joxer (John Kavanagh) in a 2004 Gaiety production of Juno and the Paycock

Barry Cowen recently had cause to regret the day in 2016 when he drove home after the All-Ireland having had a couple of drinks earlier. The event rose up to haunt him following his recent and short-lived promotion to cabinet.

That episode provoked an outbreak of tut-tutting. But he's not the first politician to hit the rocks over booze. And boozy stories have long been a source of diversion for the Irish public.

If you look at the plays of the national theatrical canon and consider them as a manifestation of the Irish subconscious, they reveal a lot about the nation and drink. We have a complicated relationship with it.