The Best Irish Drinking Games

Ireland has a long and storied history of lively pubs, good craic, and strong drinks. It’s no surprise that the Emerald Isle has given birth to a variety of Irish drinking games that have spread worldwide. These games foster camaraderie and laughter among friends, making any gathering a memorable one. In this post, we’ll dive into some of the most popular Irish drinking games that you can try at your next gathering.

Before we do, learn some Irish drinking toasts to accompany your pint, sing some funny Irish songs to lighten the mood, or practice your Irish pick up lines in case you come across a fair Irish maiden.

Irish Drinking Games

Ring of Fire (a.k.a. Kings Cup)

The Ring of Fire, also known as Kings Cup, is a classic card-based Irish drinking game. It’s a social game that can accommodate large groups and promises lots of laughs.

Required materials:

  • A standard deck of cards
  • A large cup
  • Drinks for all players

How to play:

  1. Shuffle the cards and spread them face-down in a circle around the large cup (the “Kings Cup”).
  2. Players take turns drawing cards and performing actions based on the card’s value. Here are some common meanings and actions:
    • Ace: Everyone drinks
    • Two: Player drinks
    • Three: Player to the left drinks
    • Four: Player to the right drinks
    • Five: Dance card – player does a dance move, and everyone else copies it
    • Six: Everyone cheers and drinks
    • Seven: Waterfall – everyone starts drinking and can’t stop until the person to their right stops
    • Eight: Pick a mate – player chooses someone to drink with them
    • Nine: Rhyme time – player says a word, and everyone takes turns rhyming with it until someone fails
    • Ten: Categories – player picks a category, and everyone takes turns naming items in that category until someone fails
    • Jack: Make a rule – player makes a rule that everyone must follow for the rest of the game
    • Queen: Question master – player becomes the “question master” and can ask anyone questions; if the person doesn’t answer with a question, they drink
    • King: Pour a shot into the Kings Cup; the player who draws the fourth king must drink the contents

Tips and variations:

  • Customize card meanings and actions to suit your group’s preferences.
  • For larger groups, use two decks of cards.
sIrish Drinking Games
Irish Drinking Games

Quarters (a.k.a. Coins)

Quarters, or Coins, is a fast-paced, competitive Irish drinking game that tests your hand-eye coordination.

Required materials:

  • A small coin (usually a quarter)
  • A shot glass or small cup
  • Drinks for all players

How to play:

  1. Players sit around a table, and the shot glass is placed in the center.
  2. Each player takes turns attempting to bounce the coin off the table and into the shot glass.
  3. If a player makes the coin in the glass, they choose another player to drink. If they miss, play moves to the next player.
  4. Some variations of Quarters include “challenges,” where a successful bounce requires the chosen drinker to perform a task (e.g., singing a song, telling a joke) before drinking.

Tips and variations:

  • Use different sized coins for added difficulty.
  • Set a time limit for each turn to keep the game moving quickly.

Irish Poker

Irish Poker combines the luck of the draw with the excitement of poker and adds a twist of an Irish drinking game.

Required materials:

  • A standard deck of cards
  • Drinks for all players

How to play:

  1. The dealer gives each player four face-down cards.
    • To simplify the game, skip the poker round and focus on the guessing and drinking aspects.
    • For added excitement, incorporate wild cards or other poker variations.
    • In the first betting phase, players guess whether their first card is red or black. If they guess correctly, they give out a drink; if they guess incorrectly, they take a drink. 3. In the second betting phase, players guess whether their second card is higher or lower than the first. Correct guesses allow them to give out two drinks, while incorrect guesses require them to take two drinks.
      1. In the third betting phase, players guess whether their third card is in-between or outside the range of their first two cards. Correct guesses allow them to give out three drinks, while incorrect guesses require them to take three drinks.
      2. In the fourth betting phase, players guess whether their fourth card will be the same suit as any of their other cards. Correct guesses allow them to give out four drinks, while incorrect guesses require them to take four drinks.
      3. After all the betting phases are complete, players reveal their cards and use their best hand to play a round of traditional poker. The loser of the poker round must take a shot or finish their drink.

      Tips and variations:

Flip Cup

Flip Cup is a team-based Irish drinking game that tests your speed, agility, and teamwork.

Required materials:

  • Plastic cups (one per player)
  • A long table or flat surface
  • Drinks for all players

How to play:

  1. Divide players into two teams and have them stand on opposite sides of the table.
  2. Each player fills their cup with a small amount of their drink.
  3. The first players from each team tap their cups on the table, then tap the cups together, and finally, tap their cups on the table once more before chugging their drinks.
  4. After finishing their drinks, players attempt to flip their cups upside down by flicking the rim with their fingers.
  5. Once a player successfully flips their cup, the next player on their team repeats steps 3 and 4. Play continues down the line.
  6. The first team to flip all their cups wins the round, and the losing team must drink another round of shots or finish their drinks.

Tips and variations:

  • Increase the number of cups each player must flip to make the game more challenging.
  • Introduce obstacles, such as requiring players to spin around or do a dance move before flipping their cups.

Drunken Spoons

Drunken Spoons adds a boozy twist to the classic card game Spoons. A great Irish drinking game.

Required materials:

  • A standard deck of cards
  • Spoons (one less than the number of players)
  • Drinks for all players

How to play:

  1. Arrange the spoons in the center of the table.
  2. The dealer shuffles the deck and deals four cards to each player.
  3. The dealer then picks up the top card from the remaining deck and either keeps it or passes it to the left. Players continue passing cards to the left, trying to get four of a kind.
  4. Once a player has four of a kind, they silently grab a spoon from the center of the table. As soon as a spoon is grabbed, all other players try to grab a spoon as well.
  5. The player left without a spoon must take a shot or finish their drink.

Tips and variations:

  • Play with a timer to increase the speed and intensity of the game.
  • Use shot glasses instead of spoons for an added challenge and more drinking opportunities.

Fingers (a.k.a. Numbers)

Fingers, or Numbers, is a guessing game that relies on intuition and luck. A great Irish drinking game.

Required materials:

  • A large cup or container
  • Drinks for all players

How to play:

    1. All players pour a small amount of their drink into the large cup or container.
    2.  Players sit around the table with one hand on the edge of the cup, their index fingers extended and touching the rim.
    3. The game starts with one player calling out a number between 0 and the total number of players. This number represents their guess of how many fingers will still be touching the rim after everyone simultaneously decides whether to keep their finger on the rim or remove it.
    4. On the count of three, players either keep their fingers on the rim or pull them back.
    5. If the person who made the guess was correct, they remove their finger from the game and are safe. If their guess was incorrect, they must take a drink.
    6. Play continues clockwise with players making guesses until only one player remains with their finger on the rim. This player is the loser and must drink the contents of the large cup.

Tips and variations:

  • For a quicker game, have players remove their fingers from the game if their guess is incorrect instead of just taking a drink.
  • Play with two fingers per player for a more challenging game.

Eurovision Drinking Game

A drinking game based on the classic game of Bingo, tailored to the Eurovision Song Contest 2. Encourages players to pay attention to various elements of the performances and contest events

Required materials

  • A live stream or recording of the Eurovision Song Contest
  • Customized Eurovision Bingo cards for each player (featuring various performance elements, clichés, or events)
  • Bingo markers (e.g., small coins, stickers, or pens)
  • Drinks for all players

How to play

  1. Before the contest begins, distribute a customized Eurovision Bingo card to each player.
  2. As the contest progresses, players mark off the elements on their Bingo card when they occur in a performance or event.
  3. When a player completes a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row on their Bingo card, they shout “Eurovision!” and the other players must take a drink.
  4. The game continues until the end of the contest or until a player achieves a “full house” (marks off all elements on their Bingo card), at which point the other players must finish their drinks.

Tips and variations

  • Customize Bingo cards with a mix of easy and challenging elements to cater to different levels of Eurovision expertise.
  • Introduce additional drinking rules, such as taking a drink every time a certain country receives 12 points or whenever a particular word or phrase is mentioned by the commentators.
  • Play with different winning patterns (e.g., four corners, postage stamp, or blackout) for added challenge and excitement.
  • Check out this great guide on Eurovision Drinking games!

While these are just a few examples of the numerous Irish drinking games out there, they are sure to bring laughter, fun, and camaraderie to your next gathering. Remember to always drink responsibly and know your limits. Enjoy the games, and don’t forget to share your favorite Irish drinking games and experiences in the comments section!


Leave a Comment