Tuesday, 13 September 2011

"Bully Day" - The Irish Weather

Rain, hail, sleet, wind, snow, frost, sunshine, heatwave, humidity – all get the same treatment by my father, he calls it a “bully day.”
His tone changes from happiness on a nice day to slightly angry on a bad one, but the words stay the same, the weather is described as “bully.” Take it or leave it – read into it what you will that is the way it is.
Sunlight behind rain clouds over Garadice Lake, Co Leitrim
The Irish weather is a worldwide phenomena. Not because it is particularly bad, or extremely changeable, or frustratingly unpredictable or down right mean (because it is all this) but because it is so much more.

The weather is a conversation starter with strangers, a meaningful exchange with friends, an everyday (if not every hour) occurrence and it is always acceptable to talk about it – anywhere, any time. Us Irish are emotionally attached to the weather, we are fascinated by it. And it is something that transcends gender, age and class.

“Did you hear the forecast?” is a question heard about one hundred times a day, people walk into a room and announce “it's windy out there,” “God that is awful rain,” or once every five years “it is beautiful out there!”

Those who visit the country are always amused by how much we talk about the weather, the girl at the supermarket check out will comment as she scans your items, the bus man will usually make a declaration on your entry or exit and the bar person is well conversed in all things weather related.

And yet despite the fact the weather forecast is consulted two – three times a day, and we have discussed at length today, tomorrow and the weekend's weather we always look unprepared.
Tourists clad in rain jackets to their ankles, wearing woolly jumpers and heavy boots stare in disbelief as Irish people run through puddles and torrential rain in a teeshirt, jeans and flip flops to get to the shop in the middle of November!

Again this year the Irish people endured a pathetic Summer, and if we are to believe the forecasters (by the way we usually don't – hence the need for such discussion) then we are in for another crazy winter.
Another addition to the Irish weather phenomena is that we are never organised for 'extreme' weather. Over two weeks of sunshine will result in concerns over water shortages, two weeks of non stop rain will flood the country and the whole island comes to a stand still with frost and snow! Imagine what would happen if we got some real 'extreme' weather?!

Fresh snow in Tullyveela, Corlough, Co Cavan

Putting aside my severe Vitamin D deficiency, my loathing for days of rain and the amount of cursing I do over frost, I actually quite like the Irish Weather.
Actually maybe 'like' is a bit strong!

I am pale with freckles – so a lot of sun is not my friend, I love the wind and I also love the snow (aside from driving in it). A long Summer evening is perfect in Ireland.
We sometimes forget that the large amount of rain in Ireland contributes to the vivid green colour of our country side, and the sweetness of the grass leads to world renowned meat produce.
Rainbows dominate our skies, starry nights are dream like and morning mists are haunting.

Our handsome dog Wally enjoying a colourful Autumn in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim
If it were not for our attitude weather – what would we have to complain about?!


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