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Irish people and weather. An obsession.


By Amanda Cassidy
13th Aug 2022
Irish people and weather. An obsession.

“I’m not complaining’ one of the mum says as we shift from foot to foot outside the entrance to the adventure camp where we await our dirty 10-year-olds.

We are sweaty, our summer dresses stick to our backs, and everything revolves around ice-cream to the point that the children almost groan when I suggest it a few minutes later as they trudge to the car, sapped by the heat.

Their fingernails are crusted black from building dens in the forest and their faces are glowing a strange sheen of pale from the factor 50 plus I slathered on them twice before they left this morning.

But we are NOT complaining.

We are not complaining that we are not cut out for this weather in our daily Irish lives.

On holidays, we have air con or short jaunts to a pool or beach. On holidays, we can loll in sheet-like dresses and enjoy burnt-orange views over the horizon with ice-clinking cocktails. In Ireland, we exist in a year-round, low-level damp – either from sweat or rain.

‘I’m not complaining,’ I say to my sister as the sea-swimming brigade block the footpaths.

I lower my voice. ‘But I am kinda looking forward to Autumn’. She glares at me, horrified. We both know it’s the thing that everyone thinks, but nobody says. It’s a jinx, a curse, an affliction known as perpetually-disappointed-with-the-weather-itis.

Discussing the weather is an Irish phenomenon that makes up at least 40% of most initial conversations. It’s practically mandatory. In winter, we stand in water-logged pitches, hoods up, heads down, wiggling our damp toes and talking about how dreadful the rain is lately. ‘Will it ever end?’ We shake our heads sadly and dream of summer.

In spring we hold out hope that the front-loading of the storms will give way to a nice summer. In summer, we sweat and BBQ furiously. Better make the most of this, we declare, shoving the kids, blinking like little moles from screen-use, out into the garden.

And we do.

In fairness, there are wonderful beach trips, Coke floats, pier jumping, outdoor games that make up memories that will hopefully last our ice-cream filled children for life.

But as sure as night follows day, there will be discussions about the temperature, the heat, the meteorological outlook for the next seven days.

‘It’s supposed to be nice on Friday’

(A ripple of approval all round)

Then… shifting uncomfortably; ‘Which weather app do you use?’

This is followed by an exchange of the most accurate weather apps, which will segue into a conversation about the hosepipe ban or the forthcoming floods or the lack of parking when the sky really opens up.

You would think given the changeable…let’s call it ‘Island weather,’ that we experience here in Ireland, that we’d be the best prepared. But we just don’t have the clothes for this heat. Come to think of it, we don’t have the clothes for the rain either. We wear the wrong shoes, have an unusually low umbrella to person ratios, and while sensible people layer, most of us use denim jackets uselessly over our heads against a downpour, or bring panic cardigans when it’s 28 degrees outside.

But we are not complaining.

Right now it’s glorious and we are planning our sixteenth BBQ of the month. We now BBQ as a verb – peppers, corn… every available sausage in Ireland. Hell, we’ll even throw the odd banana on the grill for fun.

I’ve a fanciful idea that I could grow Bougainvillea around the back of the house. We think ourselves practically Mediteranean now.

We go about our business, sticky with humidity, wilting in the sun, taking pictures of the inside temperature of the car, determined to Make The Most Of It.

Can’t complain, though. Can’t complain.