2014- Write a feature article for a magazine, which may be light-hearted or serious, about Irish people’s obsession with the weather.
Certainly, the Irish obsession with weather is an inherent part of our identity. With the Irishmen’s reluctance to step outside in cold weather to pick potatoes reported as one of the main causes of the Famine to acquiring a serious injury sprinting to save drying laundry at the sight of a cloud, it’s clear that obsession with the weather is a mandatory Irish trait. While I still maintain that organising a country-wide event to physically push the island of Ireland further towards warmer shores would be the solution to our weather worries, I sit here still emotionally fragile after a wooden spoon threat from making the fatal mistake of speaking during the weather forecast last night. In this article I will discuss the impacts of our obsession with the weather on we unfortunate Irish citizens.
Of course, the first noteworthy element of Irish people’s obsession with the weather is taking the brave step, after years of crying in a B&B in Kerry, to holiday abroad. At one stage in every young Irish person’s life an unfortunate and naïve parent has been lured into an enterprising Travel Agency by the promise of white sand, unlimited beer and, most importantly, an abundance of Irish bars. Two weeks and a Budget Travel last minute deal later one family member has vowed to never leave Ireland again, another is struggling to comprehend the concept of bringing a passport to the airport whilst a parent is witnessed trying to force a thirteen year old child to say that they were seven in the hope of a cheaper child ticket for a theme park. Of course, the foreign holiday is a rather dramatic step for Irish parents. The combination of the stifling heat (yet, according to an unnamed parent, apparently incomparable to the summer spent in the bog in 1958) the coincidence of the Travel Agent declining to mention that the beer in the “unlimited food and drink” deal was non-alcoholic and of course the revelation of the lack of sunbeds around the pool often leads families to only one solution- the Irish bar. With “Jimmy Joe’s disco bar” pipping “Aunty Mary’s authentic Irish watering hole” to the post because of the cabbage and spuds on offer, hours spent in an Irish bar are a customary element of an Irish family holiday. Of course, the state of fleeing to an Irish bar is not primarily as a result of the otherwise socially unacceptable sunburn and shock realisation that not every Spaniard resembles Piqué and Shakira. Instead, the Irish bar (featuring bar staff with suspiciously bad English, who coincidentally appeared slightly bemused at the parent’s standard “Dia Duit” joke) is the venue of choice for the seemingly necessary GAA fixture of that weekend. With every child in the family banned from ever mentioning that the last time a GAA match featured on the home TV was when young Tom asked if Brian O’Driscoll was playing, the GAA match is watched with intensity and passion- pausing only to savour Tayto crisps and mutter something about Colm Cooper.
A more worrying element of the Irish weather is the influx of Spanish students to the country. Typically, the first sight of a Spanish student sparks intense debate within a group of Irish people. Do you think that they’d be interested in your once off family trip to the Costa Del Sol? However, the most striking thing about the arrival of Spanish students is the worry about their adjustment to the Irish weather. Unless the term “gale force wind” somehow got translated into the Spanish dictionary as a phrase implying the presence of nudist beaches, or Dublin Airport annually claims the luggage of hundreds of innocent Spanish students, the lack of clothes worn by Spanish students is incomprehensible. Of course, the inevitable chilliness of Spanish students in Ireland has managed to prevent an unidentified relation of mine from hosting a Spanish student, thus preventing him from “practising his Spanish” (blatantly exploiting him as an economic asset).With the cost of heating oil in Ireland stopping the apparent economic benefits of the innocent Spanish students, we only have Irish weather to blame. I would also like to place the blame on Irish weather for my lack of a Spanish boyfriend, but that’s another issue.
The final impact of the Irish obsession with the weather is upon our hobbies and exercise. Of course, I must admit that I seemed to have missed out on the “Paul O’Connell gene”, a desirable yet rare gene that enables Irish people to exercise and generally participate in outdoor life despite unfavourable weather conditions. Of course, the absence of this elusive gene is regrettable- I can only dream of the heights that my GAA career would have reached if I had the ability to train in conditions under 5 degrees or slight rain. Coincidentally, many of my peers seem to share the same predicament- many classes in PE are missed as a result of the sight of a cloud and approximately one thousand weddings are cancelled every year due to an unfavourable weather forecast. Indeed, the inability of Irish people to participate in outdoor life in bad weather has given the country increased economic hope- Dominos reported an 87% increase in delivery sales during the light rain spell in July 2014. It is also heavily rumoured that the Irish rugby team are given “weather survival supplements” before games in the Aviva, although Joe Schmidt has yet to confirm this. In the meantime, I will continue to watch Mass on the television and use toasted marshmallows by the fire as my main food group until the temperature rises above 5 degrees.
Thus, we can establish that our obsession with the weather has reached unbelievable heights. From considering becoming a Weatherwoman as a viable career path to avoiding shopping in Penneys due to the lack of rain shelter offered from their paper bags, our obsession with the weather is unstoppable. In the meantime we can only continue book our Visas for a country with a more bearable climate, or cling to our rosary bands in one hand and our fourteen day weather forecast in the other. Me? I’m off to do my monthly shop- only one day left of it only being seven degrees….