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‘We’re not anti-drink, we are anti-drunk.’: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day sober

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Upper  East Side, Manhattan (PIX 11) — To some, a sober Saint Patrick’s Day is an oxymoron, a total impossibility.

But others see it as the only way to truly celebrate Irish culture on the feast of Saint Patrick. More than five hundred people gathered at Regis High school right after the parade and there wasn’t an ounce of alcohol anywhere.

“We’re not anti-drink, we are anti-drunk ” the Consul General of Ireland, Noel Kilkenny told PIX 11. “In Ireland, the pubs are closed on Saint Patrick’s Day so there is not the same association between drinking and celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day.”

This is the second annual Sober Saint Patrick’s Day event, organized by TV executive William Spencer Reilly. He wanted to blow up the stereotype of the drunken Irish at a time when binge drinking is on the rise.

“We’re not against people having a drink or two,” Reilly said. “We just don’t want them to get wasted.”

Reilly also wanted to provide a safe place for families and for those in recovery.

Irish actor, author and raconteur Malachy McCourt said it was great that the Irish were being celebrated for their “great thoughts” and not as “great drunks.”