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It may seem strange that a saint’s feast day has turned into an international day of drinking, but St Patrick’s Day is known across the globe as a day for revelry and raucous behaviour. If you’re in need of recovery the morning after, these are Ireland’s favourite hangover cures to get you through 18 March.
Many Irish people believe a strong, sweet cup of tea to be the cure for all ills, and its mythical healing properties are certainly thought to extend to the hangover. And tea’s positive effects on those suffering the consequences of a night in the pub aren’t purely psychological; studies have shown that a good cuppa can have the same hydrating effect as water – essential during the dehydration of a hangover.
There’s no doubt the number one Irish hangover cure is a full Irish cooked breakfast; this hearty plate normally consists of bacon, eggs, sausages, black pudding, beans and a fried tomato, with toast on the side. According to a 2012 survey conducted by Ireland’s national directory enquiry service, 11850, 63% of Irish people see the Irish breakfast as the ultimate remedy for a night of hard drinking. (The survey was conducted in honour of what they referred to as Ireland’s National Hangover Day – 18 March.)
For those unfortunate souls who have to work the day after Paddy’s Day, or can’t stomach a full Irish breakfast just yet, a breakfast roll can save the day. Available from deli counters at petrol stations across the country, the breakfast roll features items from a full Irish breakfast stuffed inside a bread roll. The breakfast roll is such a common hangover cure in Ireland that it was even the focus of a song released by comedian Pat Shortt in 2006.
Another deli counter staple, the chicken fillet roll (which consists of breaded chicken breast stuffed inside a bread roll) may not be unique to Ireland, but it is an Irish institution. Common toppings include grated cheese and shredded lettuce (for the scant nutritional value), though the choice of mayo or butter as a condiment is fiercely debated. It’s best paired with a fizzy drink and potato wedges for the ultimate hangover cure.
Jambons are one of Ireland’s best beloved hangover foods; found in supermarkets, delis, petrol stations and some cafés, this savoury pastry has everything you could need to ward off an impending headache. Flaky pastry encloses a cheese and ham filling; calorific, carb-filled and laden with salt, it’s the perfect cure for the morning-after shakes.
The British energy drink Lucozade is sometimes drunk to counter colds and the flu, but it’s also a favourite of those suffering the self-inflicted illness of a hangover. Thanks to its high sugar content, Lucozade provides a quick vitality boost when crawling back into bed isn’t an option. In 2016, one Dublin pub even created a Lucozade daiquiri, calling it ‘the ultimate hangover cure’.
A Chinese takeaway is another trusted Irish hangover cure, called upon after the worst of nausea has subsided and when eating a full meal seems doable. The carb-rich 3-in-1, consisting of rice, chips and curry sauce, is seen as being particularly medicinal. It’s not a combination you’ll commonly find out outside of Ireland, but it’s worth seeking out if you’re suffering after St Patrick’s Day.
Don’t be fooled by the name: the spice bag advertised outside Chinese takeaways in Dublin isn’t a do-it-at-home cooking kit. Named Ireland’s favourite takeaway dish in 2015, a spice bag is generally made up of chicken, chips, red and green peppers, onions and chilli peppers. It’s hard to overstate how loved spice bags are in Ireland; it’s a staple of any night out, whether it’s consumed at the end of the evening or the day after.
Last but not least, plenty of Irish drinkers alleviate their pain with some ‘hair of the dog’ – which is, of course, more alcohol. The name for this so-called cure allegedly comes from the belief that rabies could be cured by applying hairs from the dog that bit you to the cut. Although there’s no evidence to suggest drinking more does anything but delay the effects of a hangover, that certainly doesn’t stop people from trying.