"You don't realise the dangers of alcohol until it comes knocking on your door"

Patrick Mungovan's twin brother Stephen died after falling from a cliff following a night out with friends

"You don't realise the dangers of alcohol until it comes knocking on your door"

Patrick Mungovan with his brother Stephen. Image: Patrick Mungovan, Facebook

Patrick Mungovan, who is from Quilty in County Clare, is all too aware of the dangers of abusing alcohol.

Patrick's twin brother Stephen died after falling from a cliff in Spanish Point, following a night out with friends in October of last year.

Last week - a day after St Patrick's Day - 20-year-old Patrick posted a message on Facebook in which he argued "our drinking habits need to change! And fast... The people of Ireland know there is a problem with our drinking culture, but still nothing is being done about it".

He added that "you don't realise the dangers of alcohol until it comes knocking on your door".


After being around the town for St Patrick's Day, i saw people arguing and fighting. This all leads down to one thing......

Posted by Patrick Mungovan on Friday, 18 March 2016

The post was widely shared and commented on over the weekend, provoking further debates about Irish people's relationships with alcohol.

Patrick spoke to Newstalk Lunchtime today on the subject, and what provoked him to pen his post.

Following Stephen's death, Patrick says he still drinks, "but I wouldn't drink as much as I had before. When something like that happens it makes you realise how dangerous it is... I wouldn't go out to get drunk, and I remember getting home - that's the main thing".

Patrick explained that before he'd "go out for the full weekend, a couple days in a row. It's just a waste thinking back on it... It was all great fun at the time, but nobody realises how bad it is until something bad happens".

He spoke about receiving the news of Stephen's death. "I didn't even believe it when I heard it. I lost my older brother a couple of years ago in a different accident in London, he was working... A second time around is even worse".

He says the amount of alcohol that Stephen drank before his death - including two naggins of vodka later in the evening - is fairly normal among people in his area.

"People just drink all the time, especially at the weekend. It's all young people, it's such a waste," he observed. "When people go out it's all Jager-bombs and shots all night long... most of them are 40% so they're way too strong.

"You could just end up getting sick everywhere, and others start fighting... They wouldn't even remember getting home".

He gave some advice to other young people, suggesting "if you go home for a couple of drinks with your friends, and just drink pints or bottles and just remember coming home - that's the main thing. You can still enjoy your night without getting drunk and getting sick everywhere".

You can listen back to the full interview below: