A short review of Irish weather.

Regardless of whether you choose to mark it by the meteorological timing (June, July and August), or the cultural version (May 1st to August 1st), the Summer is now well, and truly done. So how was yours? Did you enjoy the forecasted heatwaves? No? Really? Oh yeah that’s right they, thankfully, never arrive.

Look at the risk of ending up covered in a mixed fruit salad, violently contributed by angry members of my loyal readership, we live in Ireland. So what the hell did you expect? Ireland, barring some very rare exceptions, does not have long hot lazy Summers. We live on an island, an island which lies on the edges of both the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, or as some techie people would put it, two bloody enormous heat sinks.

Our country is famous for its green fields, a product of our wet, relatively mild climate. And correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t our farming industry rely on a warm, damp growing season, with just enough bright sunlight. So aside from the rain during haymaking, I would imagine most of our farmers were rather delighted with this Summer.

As a country we do get plenty of blue skies, and bright sunshine. As a country we do get plenty of dry days, perhaps some water managers and farmers would even go as far as to say, too many dry days. But what we tend not to get is blue skies, dry days, and hot weather in combination.

These days we seem to be doomed to harsh cold Winters, and cool but actually pretty comfortable Summers. The scary part is if you talk to someone from mainland Europe, especially eastern Europe you suddenly realise that we have it pretty damned easy. Last Winter we had maybe a foot of snow, some ice and some burst pipes. It was by Irish standards a hellish Winter. But by European standards it was a cake walk.

One day last Winter I was walking my dog, Winter (oh how we laughed) along the grand canal. There was a solid foot of snow on the ground, but the footing was good and my clothes were warm. Winter was having the time of her life, burrowing into the snow banks and then bursting out of them like some kind of explosive-snow-monster. Anyway as I wandered along enjoying the crisp air, I saw someone coming towards me in the distance. It was a Polish woman with her 1-year-old baby out for a walk. Well that’s to say she was walking, baby was being pulled along behind her in a small sled.

Being a personable individual I felt moved to speak with her, though admittedly it didn’t hurt that she was drop dead gorgeous. During the conversation I asked her what she made of the weather. She thought it was a lovely mild Winter, after a beautiful mild, comfortable Summer.

That blew me away. When I asked what she meant she reminded me of something we all know from school but somehow rarely come to truly understand. There are places in mainland Europe, places not really all that far from us, where they measure snow not in inches, but in feet. Where they look at a weather forecast and see wind chills of -30. And worse still these same places can often then have devilishly hot Summers as well.

It sounds like a good trade right? Skiing in the Winter, and topless sunbathing in the Summer. But I’m quite certain that after a year of that sort of climate, many of us hardy Irish people would be dying, even begging to get back to our damp island, with its mild weather. You see the thing is, we say we want hot weather, but when we get it all you hear is people complaining about it being too hot. Then we also get people passing out from heat exhaustion, at temperatures which most Europeans see as a nice bracing Spring day, because we haven’t the experience to carry water with us.

Speaking of water, we find ourselves incensed when ours is restricted, because the hot weather usually doesn’t come with the extra water we need.

But worse of all is the constant scorn poured over the bitching of the goth girls. I say this as one of that particular group, hot weather sucks. Yes, you can wear the best of your revealing “Daughter of the Night” style clothing. But velvet is a real bitch to wear when it’s dripping with sweat, pvc is horribly sticky and leather is just impossible to stay cool in. But worst of all, it just ruins your pale, and there’s nothing worse than having to put on factor 6,000 every half hour all day.

But after all this the one question that still sticks in my mind is this. What is it about the average Irish person that makes them crave hot weather? After all when it comes right down to it, we’re usually bloody useless when confronted with a thermometer that reads anything much above 20 celcius.

2 Comments to “A short review of Irish weather.”

  1. Pshaw. I, for one, frickin’ looooove it when it’s so ridiculously hot that half the population is swooning. Of course, I come well supplied with Factor 30, large bottles of water, and I make some damn good iced tea.
    Also, I tend to bugger off to warmer climes.
    And I think I crave hot weather because it’s the antithesis of winter. The only Winter I like is the one snuggled up beside me. The seasonal kind is one I associate with being cold and miserable. Sunny summers are bright, the sunshine gets rid of the goddamn winter blues and clears my head and makes me feel alive again.

    • Yeah when it comes to favourite weathers we’re basically complete opposites. I love the WInter, both of them. While Summer is my idea of Hell on Earth most of the time.

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