The general perception of Irish people is that they love a few pints and are not the type to turn down a drink.
However, according to statistics released by the World Health Organisation, the Irish are not among the top drinkers in the world. In fact, they are not even inside the top 20 countries.
The figures are part of a 2010 study of the relationship between alcohol and health in several countries around the world.
The Belarusians are the nationality that most enjoy a drink, with an average of 17.5 litres of alcohol being consumed by each person a year. One unit of alcohol is 10 millilitres, which means the average person in Belarus is getting through nearly 200 standard bottles of wine a year.
Average of 11.9 litres of alcohol consumed each year
The Irish placed 21st on the list with an average consumption of 11.9 litres, equal to about 131 bottles of wine. Americans average 9.2 litres a year, 101 bottles, and India was the driest nation surveyed, with an annual intake of just 4.3 litres per person, 47 bottles of wine.
The data goes someway to breaking the myth that all Irish people are big drinkers.
Interestingly, it revealed that nearly 20% of Irish people had not touched a drop for at least 12 months, and less than 4% of the country are considered to be dependent on alcohol.
The survey also found that Irish males are more likely to enjoy a drink than females. Of those that admitted to enjoying a drink, males consumed more than double the amount of alcohol (19 litres-per-year) to their female counterparts (9 litres).
However, the survey doesn’t exactly let Ireland off the hook for its drinking habits. More than half the men surveyed admitted to have consumed more than 60g of alcohol in one sitting (8 or more units). That is enough to be considered by health experts as ‘binge drinking’ and can be severely damaging to your health. More than a quarter of Irish women also admitted to going on a ‘binge’ in the last 30 days.