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irish childhood

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If it feels like you have more maple syrup than blood running through your veins right now, that's because you took on Pancake Tuesday like an absolute pro.

As children, we were encouraged to tuck in because getting our hands on sugar over the next 40 days and 40 nights (give or take) would be damn near impossible.

As we impatiently awaited the arrival of the Easter Bunny, the vast majority of us were forced to wean ourselves off the white stuff in the name of the baby Jesus, and Christ were those six weeks an exercise in torture.

Here are just 11 things you'll remember if your family (and your school) decided a sugar-free period was mandatory.

1. The way smugness was encouraged.

If you made it through break AND lunch on day one without so much as a jelly bean passing your lips in the school yard, you were well within your rights to brag about it.

"40 days? I'll do this spinning on my head, man."

 

2. The way panicking was expected.

There was always one kid who let the pressure get to him and could often be seen loitering in the yard hoping someone might accidentally drop their Club Milk.

"Watch your pockets. Colm's on the hunt again."

3. The way people introduced new rules and expected no one to notice.

The schoolyard was full of kids convincing each other the were entitled to break the rules by day two.

"Yeah no, it's grand. I said sweets, not chocolate. I'm still doing it right."

4. The way certain events didn't count.

If your sibling's birthday fell during Lent, you were given carte blanche to have a slice or two of cake.

"Arra c'mere to me, pet. You're more than welcome to another slice on your sister's 9th birthday, sure."

5. And the way St. Patrick's Day sure as sh*t didn't count.

If there was one day when your parents would loosen the Lent reins, it was St Patrick's Day.

"Give that child another glass of red lemonade. Sure, isn't it our Patron Saint's big day?"

6. Biscuits were a grey area.

You knew your tenpenny mix was a no-go, but what about those manky biscuits your Granny lived on?

"I don't even like them, so I'm definitely allowed to eat them."

7. There was always one kid who sailed through Lent.

Granted they lost many friends along the way, but you couldn't help admire their determination.

"He won't be so smug when no one goes to his damn birthday party."

8. You had at least one major slip-up, and swore any witnesses to secret.

The 'slip-up' generally happened after a particularly rough day in school when you cared little for Jesus.

"How was I to know candy floss was made of sugar? Keep your smart mouth closed."

9. You had at least one friend who would go out of their way to lead you down the wrong path.

They gave up on day three and they want to see you go down with them.

"Let me tell you more about my mam's goodie press."

10. The Trócaire Box remained empty until the final week.

While you knew you were meant to be filling your box with the money you DIDN'T spend on sweets, somehow it never played out that way.

"JESUS CHRIST. Give me a tenner and don't make a show of me in front of the whole school."

11. Easter Saturday night was often more agonising than Christmas Eve.

If you actually managed to endure Lent, the thought of wrapping your gob around an egg was almost too much to bear.

"I'm never going through that again."

 

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These days, Halloween is either about heading out on the town or staying in with a pizza and some horror flicks.

But remember when you literally couldn't sleep for WEEKS thinking about your costume, how many sweets you were going to get and how you'd avoid sharing them with your siblings?

Here are just a few of the Halloween memories you no doubt have if you grew up in Ireland…

1. Proudly sporting a bed sheet at LEAST two years running
'I'm a ghost, duh.'

 

2. Or failing that, a black bag
Such a vague costume… Were you a witch? A Ninja? A vampire? Who knew, really?

3. The sheer torture of having to bob for apples
'Just stick your head in this bucket of ice cold water, it's great craic.'

 

4. Ditto having to play that 'bite-the-apple-on-a-string' game
Who INVENTS these things?! 

 

5. Your dad causing you untold embarrassment by answering the door in costume
Though nowadays you'd think it was gas.

 

6. Vague mutterings that there was going to be a Ouija board at so-and-so's sleepover
'Last time I heard they conjured up the spirit of Lisa's dead cat.'

 

7. Or failing that, you were DEFINITELY going to make someone levitate this year
Light as a feather, stiff as a board.

 

8. Always having a load of mouldy oranges left at the end of your trick-or-treat bag
You'd take monkey nuts over those any day.

 

9. One neighbour always refusing to answer despite their lights being on
CURSE YOU RUDE NEIGHBOUR

 

10. Knowing this would finally be the year you'd get the ring in the Barm Brack
You'd put in eight years of slog, surely you were going to reap the reward this time.

 

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