The King Is Dead

Shortly after the smoking ban was introduced in Ireland, a local newspaper in Donegal reported a sighting of several footballers from a local amateur football team, standing outside a hotel enjoying their cigarettes together.

The punchline: the footballers were in Edinburgh, where they’d travelled to take part in a soccer tournament.

Several such urban legends have done the rounds since the smoking ban. According to one, an observer realised the ban had been taken to heart on Good Friday when he came across a group of punters puffing away outside a pub. They were happy to ignore the Good Friday ban on alcohol sales, but went outside for their smokes.

The ban also gave us a new word, smirting, a portmanteaux word created from smoking and flirting.

Last weekend, I came across a new cultural change since the smoking ban.

Until recently, cigarettes were provided on trays for the smokers at Donegal wakes, along with the regular cups of tea and sandwiches for all the mourners.

It’s an old tradition. In times gone by, clay pipes were provided at wakes.

But last weekend, the trays laid out for the mourners held only hard boiled sweets, and the smokers went outside.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.