An Irish summer

A few years ago I went to Scotland for a couple of days. They had wonderful postcards in the highlands: Winter in the Highlands, Summer in the Highlands etc. They were all the same; thick grey fog with dim outlines of a couple of sheep. We could make similar postcards for the South-West of Ireland, except it would have to be rain. Endless, interminable rain. Only the temperature might give you a hint what time of the year it is. I can’t remember the last time we had a decent summer, but this year is worse than ever. After a couple of nice days at the end of May, June has been a complete wash-out and July is off to a bad start. The land is a swamp, the rushes are growing better than ever and the mud is of a boot-sucking quality I was unprepared for, so when my wellie got stuck I got an unpleasant surprise when I shot forward to tumble headlong into a pool of muck. I was not amused, but it did provide some entertainment for my horses.  Minnie and Cassie watched with utter astonishment as I trashed around. Ah well, at least I didn’t damage my camera!

In a country where everyone is always hoping we finally might get a bit of a summer, even though we all know better, the weather is a great topic of conversation. The language is full of meteorological euphemisms. “A soft day” for instance means a day with a very fine, misty drizzle and a balmy temperature (too warm for a jacket, but if you don’t wear one you get soaked, miserable!). “Not a bad morning” means it isn’t raining…yet. And dull, gloomy overcast days often elicit exclamations of  “Isn’t is a lovely day?” Just because it isn’t raining.

Personally, when I think of a soft day, I think of blue sky with white puffy clouds sailing along in a gentle breeze. And a lovely day is definitely not one of those grey, overcast days, where the clouds are so low that they smother the hills. I yearn for days where I don’t have to wear thick fleeces and rain jackets, but it is the lack of blue sky that gets to me most. Still, even in this wet Irish summer, there is beauty to be found. You just have to see it.

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9 thoughts on “An Irish summer

  1. I love your pictures! I’ve never been to Ireland but am planning a trip maybe next year. My daughter has been twice to visit her Irish roots and she lived in Scotland for a while and loved it. I think I could get used to the weather just because it’s such a beautiful country and I like the Irish sense of humor. (I better my husband is of Irish descent)! Anyway, our summer this year is miserable with temperatures in the 90’s – 100 some days and the humidity is awful. We usually don’t get this until the end of August but it’s moved in early this year. We’re hoping for a break in the heat and I’m hoping you get some nice blue skies…

  2. Your words and photos are beautiful paired together! Though I’m sorry for your fall- mud can certainly be like quicksand at times, but like you said… at least the horses are amused 🙂 Do they often lose shoes in the muck?

  3. Beautiful photo of foxgloves, but shouldn’t they be vertical rather than horizontal 😉 ?! is the rain at least keeping the midges down or making them worse? The sooner the enterprising and persuasive Celts (I write as one) learn to collect and export their one reliable resource, there may be a way out of these interminable financial and weather crises. At least the Jetstream is hitting southern France too this year as I’m fed up of the mid-summer droughts! Falling over in mud is infuriating, but usually a softer, if muckier landing (speaking from experience and seeing horses trying to keep “straight” faces) hope you weren’t hurt.

    • We had such heavy showers that the tallest foxgloves were all bend to breaking point. Unfortunately, the midges don’t mind rain, the only things that scare them off is wind and dry heat. I can’t imagine a summer drought, but at the moment I’m willing to try one! No rain and no midges, sounds like heaven…oh and it would probably kill the rushes too!

      I had a nice, soft landing in the mud, and not even my pride got injured because fortunately nobody was home at the time so I won’t have to listen to endless remarks on what a klutz I am for the next few weeks; a lucky escape

  4. The first summer I went home to Scotland after moving to America, I thought to myself, “How cold can it be? A light jacket will be enough, right?” Wrong! How could I forget so quickly? Definitely needed woolly sweater and anorak.

    Growing up, I always dreamed of moving to a land where there was bright sun and heat all summer long. I got my wish, and I do like it, but still – when we get a day of damp, cloudy, grey drizzle, it makes me happy because it reminds me of home.

  5. You are so right about Scotland! My Husband and I went there about 10 years ago, loved it, but I was thankful that I packed a rain jacket. 🙂 Looks like you are experiencing “mauzy” weather there – damp and warm, with light rain. Ireland is still on my list of places to visit, mauzy weather and all! If you want warmth, you are welcome to visit here….today is sunny, 34C…however the humidity give you big hair. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

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