Weather no dampener of happiness: study

Religion makes people slightly happier, says TCD psychologist

“The weather is not the root of all our problems,” says TCD’s Prof Malcolm MacLachlan. Photograph: Dara Mac  Donaill

“The weather is not the root of all our problems,” says TCD’s Prof Malcolm MacLachlan. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Fri, Apr 26, 2013, 05:00


The hackneyed phrase is that if Ireland “only had the weather” it would be a great little country but a Trinity College Dublin psychologist said last night that our often dismal climate has little bearing on the happiness levels of Irish people.

Prof Malcolm MacLachlan in a free public lecture in the Manor House Country Hotel at Killadeas, Co Fermanagh, said that Ireland “is one of the happiest countries in the world”.

Prof MacLachlan based his assertion on a “national happiness experiment” he and research student Karen Hand conducted last year at the height of Ireland’s austerity with more than 3,300 girls and boys, men and women from all over Ireland aged 10-80 and with an average age of 44.

The results contained in their book Happy Nation? showed that on average Irish people scored 6.8 on a 10-point happiness and life satisfaction scale which, said Prof MacLachlan, was quite high compared to others countries around the world.

“And the weather is not the root of all our problems,” Prof MacLachlan said. “During the [experiment] , there was plenty of weather and much of it was bad . . . amazingly there was no statistically significant relationship,” he said.

Prof MacLachlan said the study showed religion made people slightly happier.