Offaly Students reminded of dangers of mixing sun and alcohol

Damian Moran


Damian Moran

With the end of the Leaving Certificate in sight, the focus for thousands of Irish students will soon move from the books to that post-exam holiday in the sun.

With the end of the Leaving Certificate in sight, the focus for thousands of Irish students will soon move from the books to that post-exam holiday in the sun.

Reminding students of the dangers that can arise when mixing sun and alcohol, is encouraging students to pick up a copy of the Holiday Survival Guide before they head off with their friends.

Fionnuala Sheehan, Chief Executive of, said, “With the help of Lonely Planet travel-writer, Fionn Davenport, we’ve put together a free Holiday Survival Guide designed to help young people make the most of their holiday. We’re conscious that many Leaving Cert students are of legal drinking age and take a drink, but over-indulging in alcohol can ruin the night or the holiday for you and your friends.

Simple pacing strategies will help to ensure that you have a fantastic holiday—drink lots of water, avoid shots and rounds, keep an eye out for your friends, be aware of local laws and customs, and remember that foreign measures are often much larger and stronger than those at home. Remember that alcohol isn’t part of everyone’s holiday plans, so respect the wishes of friends who don’t or may not want to drink.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade assisted nearly 1,500 Irish citizens following serious consular emergencies in 2012, and the Holiday Survival Guide contains important advice for young people—especially those who may be going on their first holiday without parental supervision—on what to do if they find themselves in a similar situation. While Consular assistance was provided to Irish citizens in virtually every country in the world, by far the highest number of consular emergencies occurred in Spain, a popular destination for Leaving Cert students. Several other common spots for Leaving Cert holidays also topped the list, including France, Italy, Greece, and Portugal.

The Holiday Survival Guide includes important travel and safety information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, essential advice on staying sun-safe from DocMorris Pharmacy, as well as practical advice from to help travellers have a fun but safe holiday.

Commenting on the guide, Mark Caffrey, President of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union said, “Leaving Cert students are in the middle of some very tough exams, and many of them will enjoy a well-earned holiday afterwards. The Holiday Survival Guide has lots of great advice not only about alcohol consumption, but also travel information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and advice on staying safe in the sun. If you’re going away this summer, it’s well worth a read!”

Useful hints and tips for Leaving Cert Students in the Holiday Survival Guide include:


Drinking is not part of everyone’s holiday plans. The wishes of friends who do not drink, may not want to drink, or don’t drink at your pace should be respected.*

Get travel insurance and be aware of its specific conditions. Remember, many insurance companies won’t pay up if you have an accident after drinking alcohol.

Scan and email copies of important travel documents (tickets, passport, I.D, emergency contact numbers etc.) to yourself and to someone at home. Ingenious and easy!

A few drinks in flight may seem like a way to kick start your holiday but pressurized cabins will make you feel drunker, faster.

Take note of the local laws about alcohol. There are plenty of countries where public drunkenness can cause grave offence.

Choose the right sun protection factor for your skin type – don’t even think about anything less that factor 15. Stay out of the sun from 11am to 3pm.

Foreign measures of alcohol can be larger than Irish ones and they may have a higher concentration of alcohol; pace yourself and drink plenty of water between drinks.

Avoid rounds and drinking games – they are hard on the pocket and put people under pressure to drink way too much, way too fast.


*Not all Leaving Cert students will be of legal drinking age. Tips relating to alcohol apply only to students who are legally entitled to and choose to drink.