For one week only, Ireland lives like the other Piigs
When the sun comes out in Ireland, it’s vital to get out and soak up every ray, even if it means jacking in your day job, writes COLM TOBIN
SOMEONE ONCE SAID, “I love summer in Ireland. It’s my favourite day of the year.” It sums up our relationship with sunshine. It takes light about eight minutes to reach Earth from the sun – a journey of 150 million kilometres to not reach Ireland except through cloud most of the time. So when it arrives it’s vital to get out and soak up every ray, even if it means jacking in your day job.
One warm summer’s day can lift the mood of the nation, putting a spring in our step, a glint in our eye and a Wibbly Wobbly Wonder in our hand. But after a while we begin to worry about rain and to have flashbacks to November gales and January sleet. The fear sets in. Some people even start willing it to bucket down, announcing, “We could do with some rain,” as if they have some sort of meteorological Stockholm syndrome. But, before it does, there is a brief window of joy that allows us to live like the rest of the Piigs, for a while at least.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate the sunny weather.
Arrive early to find a good spot. Irish people have a weird relationship with land and property, so it’s best to get on the ladder early. Put your towel on the sand to mark your territory before preparing the scaffolding for your elaborate arrangement of windbreakers.
Run right into the water. It is the only way to enter the sea around Ireland. Few sights are more tragic than that of porcelain-white Paddies nervously dipping their toes in the freezing waters before running back to the safety of land. This flirtation with the ocean can go on for hours, like some extended Beckettian farce. Just do it already.
Don’t stay in too long. The wrinkled-prune look is so last summer.
When returning from your dip, almost walk on the faces of every sunbather lying in your path. They will appreciate the cooling effect of second-hand seawater dripping on to them from your shivering body.
When gawping at a passerby of the opposite sex, remember that your sunglasses do not make you invisible – and that your slowly rotating head and open, drooling mouth are more obvious than you might think.
Always shake the sand out of your towel upwind of the nearest sunbather.
A family pack of Penguin bars is essential currency at the beach. Ensure you pack one too many, so that later on you can discover the joy of Penguin bar caked on to smartphone.