By Kevin Blessing
“What sort of a day is it where you are”? Cloudy, windy, warm, wet, sunny; a typical Irish summers day.
Its part of our culture to sit and watch the main evening news followed by the all important weather forecast for the days ahead. When Jean Byrne comes out to read the weather, the big question on all our minds is not what the weather is like, but more like what is she wearing????
Irish weather is like a box of chocolates, “you never know what your going to get”.
Without question we’ve had our wettest summer since records began which effects everyone of us. Farmers in particular have an immense interest in the weather due to its influence on their daily lives.
It was featured in last week’s edition of The Leitrim Observer that agreement was reached in Brussels which will see fifty percent of the single farm payment scheme paid to farmers on October 16th with the remainder arriving on December 1st.
Like most people in our county I have many friends who dedicate their time and livelihoods to running farms and this summer for many of those friends it has been one to be forgotten.
Normally at the start of August most farmers are well ahead of target in saving the annual hay or silage, this year that is far from the case. Farmers whom I know personally usually have all home by now however they are still awaiting summer 2012 to arrive to get their first cut, while in previous years at this time they would be looking forward to their second cut.
I recently spoke to an IFA representative from the county who claimed that most farmers could only look into their meadows during the months of June and July as they were too wet to bring any farm machinery into.
Last week I headed down to Bunratty in County Clare for my cousin Grainne’s wedding, I noticed a lot of farmland that was mowed looked in fact more like it had been ploughed such was the damage caused by the heavy machinery needed to save this years crop given our climate.
I have been thinking about parents and childminders in our county and how they are managing to entertain the children during their summer holidays, I recently heard my niece singing to herself “Rain, rain go away, come again another day”.
When I was about seven or eight years old myself and the eight members of the Blessing clan would pile into our family’s Volkswagen Derby car and head off for a picnic every Sunday during the summer months to Cormongon, The Forest Park, to the beaches of Bundoran, Rossnowlagh, Rosses Point or Strandhill, picnics were great then and the weather was glorious with endless days of blistering sun. They were real summers and one could forward plan a picnic.
‘I scream you scream we all scream for ice-cream’ us Irish all love ice-cream, weather it’s a ninety nine, Choc-Ice, Mr Freeze, Ice Berger, Golly Wog, Twister, Loop De Loop or Fat Frog we all have our favourite. Ice cream sales thrive in good hot Irish weather however this summer we haven’t had to many days to enjoy an Uachtar Reoite.
In recent years with the seasons’ unpredictability you can not even forward plan for two hours time as the weather is that changeable. A couple of years ago we had relations home from Canada and America, my mother had decided that we would have a family barbecue to celebrate the relations been home.
The meat was got from my brother in law Mickey the butcher in Ballinamore, a bouncy castle was hired in and erected early that morning and as the chops were put on the barbecue the party had to be moved indoors as the heavens opened. Living on the north west coast we feel we bear brunt of the worst of the Irish weather, coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.
Two years ago myself and my other half Aine decided on a staycation. We had booked a week’s holidays from work and decided that we would spend it around Southwest Donegal. This week turned out to be a real fluke for us weather wise as the sun shun from dawn to dusk and it made our holiday one to remember as we explored many of Donegal’s unspoilt beaches, scenic drives and walks.
The following summer we headed to Westport and unfortunately we couldn’t put our heads outside the front door of the hotel because of bad weather. There’s no doubt that stay-cations would prove to be an even bigger hit with us Irish if you could depend on the feckin weather.
One thing is for sure, we can’t change the current weather, however we may have some impact on long term weather and summers due to the greenhouse effect which we are all responsible for, I often wonder what will the weather and summers be like in one hundred years from now, with all the climate change and the green house effect.
We have to remember the unexpected and the extremes do happen as we are all too well aware of, and I am, like many others hoping the sun will shine.
As I sit down to watch the evening weather forecast I can’t help but smile, not at the weather forecast for the rest of the week! but at Gerald Fleming with his famous “ Ah Hallo there, and ah very goodnight to ya….wink!!