The sun is splitting the stones, Met Eireann has issued a yellow warning, you can’t buy a paddling pool for love or money and we’re all burnt to a crisp. The average paddy isn’t designed for such weather, we love it though and we embrace it like a sailor on his last night of shore leave. The fact it’s too hot to go outdoors doesn’t seem to bother us much; the beaches are packed with screaming kids and sun cream sales are through the roof.
It’s funny how after a couple of good days we forget about the bad ones. Not that long ago we were suffering the fodder crisis, a very serious one for the farmers involved but that now feels like last year’s news. Listening to a local radio station this morning they were saying that this is going to last, this is actually a good summer. Maybe we can relax a bit now; this weather ain’t going away any day soon. All this makes me wonder though, what would it be like if Ireland was always like this? What if some form of climate change did happen and regular hot weather became the norm for our island state? Would the Ireland of 2013 that we know, be anything like the one of regular, tropical climes?
The one thing we already have is the ‘manana syndrome’. It was never difficult for us to live up to that stereotype. ‘Sure tomorrow will be fine’ could have defined us as a nation for so long, not out of laziness but more due to a national sense of lack of urgency. If a job could be stretched over a couple of days then so be it, it would get done eventually. This one has been discredited a bit by Irish companies doing well, as do the multinationals that settle here. No doubt if a national siesta was introduced we would take to it for a while but you’d have to imagine the Irish working habit of 9-5 would be a difficult one to break. Also, maybe we’d be in more of a hurry to finish a job if the call of the beer garden in the sun became a regular thing.
The national attitude to alcohol would have to change though. You couldn’t binge drink on a regular basis in this heat. Mind you the Friday night Ibiza style partying, a regular bugbear of town dwellers, originated in sunny Ibiza which doesn’t augur well for it slipping away too soon in a sunny Ireland. Maybe the novelty of drinking to excess on regular warm weekend nights would wear off but I wouldn’t bet on that one. It would be nice to think that we’d be content with a glass of wine or two and a romantic walk in the evening sun but it would take a lot of genetic engineering for that to happen. Our national drink would suffer a hit though. You can’t drink pints of the black stuff when the sun is shining. No, despite all the marketing, stout is for the darker, miserable weather. We’d have to look elsewhere for a new symbol of our drinking prowess.
Green as a national colour would take a bit of a hammering in this weather. Four green fields would become scorched patches of nothing to be particularly proud of. What would we have to show our American visitors that they couldn’t get at home? Our countryside, the greenness of which is our best seller, wouldn’t be so attractive without the daily rain showers we give out about and are glad to see the back of at the moment. The best we could do would take on the blue of the Dail, to reflect our skies but then no longer would we have people pining for the Emerald Isle. No, the hot weather would drive a big hole in revenues from Americans and that couldn’t be good for the regions.
We could open the sugar factories again though. Thankfully, the idiotic plan to close them and sell them off for development fell at the last hurdle. They are still there, lying idle. With our fields of sugar cane prospering in the daily sun the sugar towns would boom again. I’m sure labouring in the cane fields is a thing of the past so there’d be no need for the Irish labourer to return to the land in great numbers. It would be a magnificent sight though, fields of cane throughout the country, kids walking around chewing on the stems, rotting their teeth. It would make a change from dirty faces from melted ‘99s.
The red haired paddy, already an endangered species, would see a further decline. Surely our genetics would change to breed it out. We’re not designed, with our pale skin and red hair, to live under the constant sun. Either we’d have to take to living indoors or plastered in factor 100 for this symbol of Irishness to linger. Those dark haired beauties of the west coast may become more the norm and give the lie to our actual genetic heritage. The red-haired colleen could live on in the wigs of the Irish dancing competitions but unfortunately the real flame haired miss would become even scarcer.
So that’s what may be ahead of us. Is it what we want? We do love to bake in the hot summers and we do moan when they don’t arrive with the swallows. However how would we do without the rain, the green fields, the open fire on a winter’s night, our pint of plain and tourists to welcome?
Someone said yesterday that they were sick of the hot weather and not being able to do anything.
Who would have thought of that a mere few weeks ago?
* John Verling writes a weekly column about his son's epilepsy and how it affects his family. He is a freelance article writer and radio documentary maker. For more follow him on Twitter XXX or visit VerlingsWeek.com