The legal drinking age in Ireland is 18.
Specifically, this means that a person must be at least 18 years of age before they can purchase alcohol or consume alcohol in a public place.
Can someone under 18 drink at home in Ireland?
There is only one exception to this law. Legally, a parent can give their underage child alcohol.
However, this can only be done within a domestic setting.
For example, you cannot purchase a pint for an underage child in a pub and let them drink it.
However, you can give your child with alcohol if you are in a residential setting. For example, at a family BBQ or a birthday party at home.
Are the drinking laws strict in Ireland?
Despite Ireland’s reputation for having a “drinking culture”, its laws on underage drinking are very strict.
Off licenses and pubs will always ask for ID if they think there’s a chance that you may be under 18. Similarly, many stores have their own policy where cashiers must ask for ID if the person looks 21 or younger.
In certain cases, cashiers may also ask to see the ID of anyone who is accompanying the buyer. This is to try and prevent cases where 18-year-olds are purchasing alcohol for their underage friends.
For example, if a 17-year-old is accompanying their 18-year-old friend, the store may refuse to sell alcohol to the 18-year-old.
Retailers will also pay attention to other things, such as the quantity of alcohol that is being purchased.
For example: “Why is an 18-year-old purchasing three naggins of vodka instead of one larger bottle?” “Are their friends hanging around outside?” “Is this a special night, such as the Junior Cert Results night?”
What is the penalty for serving someone under 18?
There are harsh penalties for any retailer that sells alcohol to an underage person.
On the first offence, a Temporary Closure Order of up to 7 days will be imposed on the premises. The business may also be forced to pay a €1,000 fine.
On the second offence, the Temporary Closure Order may be increased to a maximum of 30 days.
The premises must close in its entirety during this closure order. In other words, it can’t just close off its drink aisle and then carry on business as normal. It must shut its doors completely.
Employees who sell alcohol to underage buyers can also be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting.”
If you take these penalties into account, you can easily see why retailers are so strict when it comes to asking people for their ID. In general, they do want to take the risk.
Which forms of IDs are acceptable?
Passports and driving licences will be accepted by most retailers. However, the only form of ID that will stand up in court is the National Age Card.
Student cards or employee cards are usually not accepted because of how easy they are to fake.
Has 18 always been the drinking age in Ireland?
Eighteen has pretty much always been the legal drinking age in Ireland.
Under the Intoxicating Liquor (General) Act of 1924, any outlet that sold alcohol to a person under the age of eighteen could be fined as much as 5 pounds.
In the case of any subsequent offence, that fine could increase to 10 pounds.