Summer's here: Drop everything and make the most of it.
THE Irish Summer has officially arrived. And there's not a hint of irony in that statement.
In this part of the world, The Irish Summer is a thing. People talk about it in shops while they're queuing to buy their sausages for the barbeque.
"It's to clear later on, is what I've heard. About a quarter past five, that rain is going to pass over completely. You'll have about half an hour then to cook all that stuff on the barbeque, but don't even bother cleaning off the patio table. You'll be eating inside."
We did think that it had arrived about two weeks ago. But in fact, it only lasted a day. People went a bit mad. One radio broadcaster even reported that a little café in a Dublin seaside town closed unexpectedly. The hastily-scrawled sign on the door read: Gone to the beach.
You'll never get a straight answer from an Irish person
We never actually say that we're having a bad Summer, of course. Unless we're really having a bad Summer. Like the year where it rained steadily almost every single day for two months.
Parents of young children spent the school holidays in the cinemas and shopping centres. Parents of teenagers almost had nervous breakdowns. Either way, it proved an expensive monsoon.
Mostly, we use euphemisms to describe our weather. We like to tell people that our climate is temperate. That's actually a word we're all taught in school, and our meteorologists throw around a lot. It means that there's no extremes.
We're never going to be dying of a heat wave in July, no more than we're going to have snow for months on end during the Winter.
Because we're all so used to this half-hearted weather, you'll never get a straight answer from an Irish person about the Irish weather.
"The wife and I are thinking about coming over to your gorgeous country next May. What will the weather be like?" I heard an American man ask an Irish woman in an airport queue last year. From the woman's accent, I knew she was from Cork. They tend to get slightly better weather down there.
'Where would you be thinking of going?' she asked.
There was a slight pause, and then the reply.
'Well, we're planning to see the whole country. We'll have four days.'
'You'll hardly see the whole of Ireland in four days, but usually the South-East gets better weather than the rest of the country. Although if you're up in Donegal, or out on the islands, and you get a bit of sun, you could be anywhere.'
The Irish Summer is always "middlin"
Two things. First, any Irish person will look at you as if you've grown another head, if you announce that you're going to see the whole of Ireland in four days.
Second, The Irish Summer is always middlin'. We're very cagey. God forbid that we'd lead you astray.
Prospective tourist: 'What sort of weather did you have in Ireland last Summer?'
When pushed, we might be persuaded to say 'middlin' good' or 'middlin' bad'.
You will, of course, be left none the wiser.
So, here's the truth. If you're thinking of coming to Ireland this Summer, on any given day, you'll need the following:
1. Waterproof shoes.
3. Rain jacket and umbrella.
4. Sunglasses and possibly sunhat.
5. Warm fleeces.
6. T-shirts, shorts & sunscreen.
We don't, however, boast 40 shades of green for no reason. The weather service here is affectionately known as "Wet Éireann." This was Irish reporter Teresa Mannion's recent water-cooler moment.*
But right now, on Monday, May 16, the sun is shining. The sky is blue. Irish people the country over, are dusting off last year's sombreros, and exposing blue-white limbs.
The land of shivering saints and freckles beckons.
See you on the beach.
* Credit: RTE News.
Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this page). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.
Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,