Weather is the perennial topic of conversation in Ireland but discussions about it have soared over the last week.
Walking out of the Dublin Airport terminal at 6 am on Tuesday morning, I was hit with a blast of hot air like nothing I had experienced in Ireland that early in the day.
Normally, Irish summers are hit and miss, bright sunshine one day, rain and mist the next.
But that all changed in the summer of 2021. For over a week now, a sun dome has settled over Ireland driving temperatures so high they are flirting with 90 degrees.
According to Met Eireann, the highest air temperature ever recorded in Ireland was 33.3°C (just under 92°F) on June 26, 1887, at Kilkenny Castle.
It was as hot on Wednesday this week as anything I have experienced in New York, such a rare occurrence that people are marveling at the wonder of it all,
Beaches are cramped, shops are running out of ice cream, and pale Irish skin, paler than usual after a long lockdown, is suddenly being exposed to the sun rays in a heatwave no one can remember the likes of.
It is, of course, the only topic being discussed, relegating Covid for once to page 2 in the newspapers.
Ireland’s hottest place was County Roscommon which clocked in around 90 degrees. For some reason, the midland county, anonymous alongside the famous tourism spots in Kerry, Galway, or Mayo, is king of the heatwave--and not for the first time, as records show.
New Yorkers, used to heatwaves and humidity, might yawn and say so what? But a heatwave of this magnitude is an unknown event that very few are prepared for.
First of all, remember there is no air conditioning in houses, perhaps with the exception of the very wealthy. In addition, you can’t even turn on the AC in most cases as there is no such thing.
Hot sleepless nights have become the norm, with cooling fans, usually utterly useless, providing the only resistance to the blinding heat.
Not that everyone is disappointed. “Bring on global warming,” said a jovial friend of mine delighted to be able to bare skin that had not seen sunlight by the looks of it since Adam was a lad.
The beaches are choc a bloc and the effects of the lockdown and the extra pounds it packed on are clear to see on the beaches with lots of jiggling bellies and backsides.
Being Irish, of course, there is a lot of complaining about the weather. No matter what the forecast, there will always be those who begin every conversation with “isn’t it dreadful weather” no matter what the conditions.
The reason the Irish talk so much about weather is obvious because unlike New York, where weather is relatively predictable, you can have four seasons in one day.
So it is supposed to cool down by the weekend, and this epic weather saga will come to an end. But the forecasters have been wrong before. Either way, this will be remembered as the long hot summer of 2021 when folks look back on it.
Now, where is my sunhat?