An American in Irelandby The Yank
- Ireland as Britain's wind farm - weighing up the pros and cons of ugly and heavily subsized Irish windfarms
- Justin Bieber's perfectly judged comment on Anne Frank - "Hopefully she would have been a belieber"
- The Irish property tax problem - everyone wants to own some and no one wants to be taxed on it
- American fans right to ignore the World Baseball Classic
- Will Ireland's emigrants catch a break on property tax?
As I write this I'm listening to the "Top 100 Christmas songs" countdown on
At the old saying goes, "it's an ill wind that blows nobody any good." That's certainly the case in Ireland where winds from the north have reestablished themselves bringing frigid weather and falls of snow to most of the country.
For many people this means another spell of trouble getting to work, dangerous icy roads and sidewalks and loads of cancellations. Given it's Christmas week, the return of the frosty weather has meant another blow to those stores that were hoping a good Christmas might save them.
However, there is a web site for which the snowy weather has been a boon.
Well, even a hurt eye can put a serious damper on the fun, as I found out last night. We had a heavy shower of snow yesterday evening and every kid in the neighborhood was again out throwing snowballs. I (and I refuse to say stupidly) decided to go out and join in.
My neighbor was out there with his kids and he was under assault from all sides. I joined him and shortly afterwards another neighbor joined our side. There were three of us; there were at least 10 of them.
We were doing fine. We had a neat operation watching out for each with occasional forays into enemy territory to administer 'justice'. All was going well.
You've read so many times about how bad Ireland's economy is that if you don't live here I'm sure you're sick and tired of hearing it. Well, regardless, it's true. Things are really bad here. The IMF bailout is only a part of the story. It's BAD.
Yet, yet, yet ...
Twice recently as I've walked around Dublin with my head up and eyes open (not always the case) I've been struck by how many people seem to be out shopping, spending money. Maybe there are fewer than in prior years. I don't know, but by no means is Dublin a ghost town this Christmas.
Ireland is melting. Two weeks after snow and ice first started covering big chunks of the country it's losing ground. Grass is reappearing and those unshoveled sidewalks are gradually becoming less slippery.
Although today felt warm, the temperature probably topped out around 42F (5.5C) this afternoon. Best of all, it rained for a little while. Not long enough to totally eliminate the 3" of solid ice that has covered many of the roads in the Dublin area, but it's a start. The forecast says it will be similar tomorrow and over the weekend. With any luck the roads will all be ice-free come Monday.
A few weeks ago some Irish people, thinking about the leaner Christmas looming this year, were probably wistfully hoping that this might actually be a "white Christmas," something a bit magical to make this a Christmas to remember fondly. Not any longer as I doubt anyone in Ireland is "dreaming of a White Christmas" today.
Early last Saturday morning I had to wake early to bring my daughter to the train. She was heading to Limerick to play in a basketball tournament. We left the house around 5:50 or so. There was a light flurry in the air and a dusting of snow on the ground, but I thought little of it.
By the time I got her to the train, it was snowing pretty hard and the roads were covered. As I headed home two thoughts were running through my head: (1) The need to go SLOW and (2) the hope that it would last long enough for my son to get out to play in it.