"A fine, soft day in the spring it was when the train pulled into Castletown, three hours late as usual, and himself got out."
That's the opening lines of narration by actor Ward Bond playing Father Peter Lonergan in the 1952 movie "The Quiet Man" starring actors John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara, and Barry Fitzgerald. The translation for "fine, soft day" means it was raining slighty, a gentle mist, and not to be confused with a dirty old day” – that’s the bad rain, according to Ireland.com's Irish weather talk.
(View a few locations where "The Quiet Man" was filmed in the village of Cong, Co Mayo. Take a look at the Ballyglunin Railway Station, located in Ballyglunin, Co Galway, the actual name of the Castletown train station featured in the movie, view at at Google Maps.)
What you should know about Irish weather is very simple. You just need to be prepared for all seasons in one day, it's likely going to rain, you could be cold, or the sun might come out and you will need to remove layers to cool off. Ireland is open all year round, and I've seen all the seasons in Ireland, including a Christmas in Killarney in 2018.
An old saying about there's no bad weather, only the wrong clothing applies to Ireland. If you do forget to pack something, the stores in Ireland are a great way to encounter Ireland.
“It’s a fine, soft day" - The opening scene of "The Quiet Man"
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Packing for Ireland
Most people traveling to Ireland want to know about the weather while preparing for travel. Packing clothing to keep dry, like a coat or jacket, umbrella, and waterproof boots are needed year-round, along with warm layers, or a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes. Just be ready for the weather to change, and you will be prepared for Irish weather. Here's a packing list, including clothing to get you packing for Ireland now.
Modern Irish weather forecasting, there's a website for that!
I’ve recently found a page about Irish weather at the official tourism website of Ireland to help answer questions about the changing weather. Visit the weather page at Ireland.com, scroll down the page, see a large dial, then select the city, and the month, or day range you are interested in exploring Ireland. Find out about the Irish Meteorological Service, met.ie.
Weather in Ireland
Go to Ireland.com to see what the weather is around the year in Ireland.
National Folklore Collection of Ireland, not-so-modern Irish weather forecasting
Departing from modern technology, Irish sayings taken from the National Folklore Collection of Ireland are a great way to take a deeper dive to Irish culture, especially related to weather. This collection was gathered as early as 1926 with oral literature, language, and artistic expression, all in order to preserve Irish culture and history.
"...the Commission worked carefully and enthusiastically to document traditions at a point in time when the Irish language was in serious decline, while the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation had not yet eroded older cultural patterns and practices," according to the National Folklore Collection.
It's considered a significant body of work and is part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. The collection is housed at University College Dublin Library. View the archive materials at duchas.ie and at digital.ucd.ie. Learn more details about the National Folklore Collection.
Learn a few antiquated Irish sayings for possible weather forecasting
The following Irish weather sayings are from the Schools' Collection, 1934-1935, Kilngross, County Leitrim, John Hunt, teacher. Permisison to use is from National Folklore Collection UCD: The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0208, Page 425, Image and data © National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. View original source.
“If the cat sits near the fire it is a sign of rain.”
"March winds and April shower brings forth May flowers."
"The oak before the ash there will only be a splash. But the ash before the oak there will be a soak."
"A January Spring is worth nothing."
"If the smoke goes through the house it is a sign of rain."
"If there is a rainbow in the east on Friday it is the sign of a brittle week next week."
You can read more sayings about Irish weather at duchas.ie, National Folklore Collection of Ireland.
*Jannet L. Walsh of Murdock, Minnesota is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of the forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative “Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota,” scheduled for publication in 2023 by Shanti Arts Publishing. Walsh is recipient of a Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Growth Grant funded by the McKnight Foundation, 2022-2024. You can follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter, and on her other social media channels, with the hashtag #IrishFamilyHistoryDetective.
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.