The first Irish alcohol-free festival is to take place in Sligo over the weekend. The Lovin’ Life Festival aims to bring entertainment to the community without any mood-altering substances. What a novel idea for the Irish.

On Wednesday in the Irish Independent, columnist Kevin Myers, lashed out at the Irish and what he considered their embarrassing need for booze. Myers doubted whether the Irish could get through the weekend with reaching for a pint of Guinness.

However his column did give food for though. He quite rightly said “It shouldn't be necessary even to have an alcohol and drugs free festival: the event itself should provide the liberation people require,” which the Irish tend to easily forget.

Myers believes that the Irish now actually do need alcohol to have a good time being otherwise too inhibited to show enthusiasm without removing “the shackles of person restraint with alcohol”.

His rant ends with a terrifying list of questions some of which might just be a little too close to the bone. “In the absence of alcohol, what are Irish people really like? How many Irish people are capable of socialising without alcohol? How many "friendships" are based entirely on the consumption of booze? How many young people only have sex when drunk? So the real issue in Irish life isn't alcohol, but the crippling need for it,” said Myers.

The festival in Sligo will play host to a great many wonderful Irish musicians such as Elva, Jody Has a Hitlist, Aine O’Doherty, Seven Days, Identity Parade, Colm Lynch, Saving J, Star of the Sea, Tabby Callaghan, Keywest, Huey & the Hobgoblins, The Dead Flags, The Whatmans, Relief, The Gorgeous Colours, Flea Market Poets, Tucan and The Blue Choir. There will also be family events taking place all weekend.

Lovin’ Life is taking place to promote and raise funds for Bill W Club. This is a center for people experience difficulties with addiction. The club offers a range of complementary supports designed to help the recovering addict re-integrate into society and live a full and rewarding life.

The full program is available at

Irish festivals in the US