Irish heat wave

Chatting about the weather in Ireland often seems a national institution rivaling the GAA.

Forecast, temperature and how wet or dry it is of course matters greatly to farmers and their livelihoods. But every other soul on the green island is always handy with a comment on the meteorological conditions.

Whether in Dublin or the wilds of Mayo, in Derry City or on ocean’s edge in West Cork a personal weather report follows the greeting.

“A fine day, isn’t it?”

“Jaysus, it’s lashing out there this morning.”

"Well, it's a fine soft night, so I think I'll go and join me comrades and talk a little treason,"
Michaeleen Og Flynn tells Sean Thornton in The Quiet Man. He wasn’t thinking about the crops but he had to mention the weather.

Heat is on the tip of every Irish tongue at the moment.

The cousin Eilís Nic An Rí just posted it is 81/27 degrees at nearly nine o’clock in the evening in Bearna in County Galway. “We’re at our boiling point.”

Her photo showed many glowing white bodies dipping a toe and more in the cold Atlantic.

“I'm ready for all the White Irish Skin comments,” she wrote. “Although there are an awful lot of lobsters around too! Ow!”

The Irish press knows its audience, so weather is always big news. You have to love the “Heat Wave” headlines in a country often miserably cold and wet.

There are reports of the tourists there now complaining about the heat and lack of air conditioning in the country, especially the Yanks.

Reading that makes me think of my last hot summer in Ireland.

At the time it was so hot The Irish Independent sent a reporter and a photographer outside their old building in Middle Abbey Street to fry an egg on the sidewalk. They managed to cook one breakfast item no one wanted to eat.

It was 1995 and I was a waiter in Dublin where there was no air conditioning in the old coach house serving as a restaurant in Lesson Street. We, the wait staff, were soaked to the bone with sweat running the tables during the lunch shift. We only felt pity for the poor souls trapped working in the kitchen.

When lunch service was done at three, I’d make my way to the Pearse Street DART station and head south to Sandycove for a swim in the cold Irish Sea. The water would be about 60 versus the air of 90 degrees. It was only refreshing, and those days that summer were brilliant.

Early July on the Jersey Shore offered ocean temperatures that didn’t even matched those of the Irish Sea. That cool fact kept most here out of the waves.

That would never happen in Ireland on a hot and sunny summer day. The first sight of sun and heat and the masses flock to the beaches and into the surf.

If the newspapers are right, heat is general all over Ireland for the next while.

New Jersey is also facing another heat wave.

After finishing up the typing here on the back deck in a simmering Garden State, a hint of sweat on the brow, allows me to do what most in Ireland can’t this July; head inside to cool off in the air conditioning.