Sunday 4 December 2016

The Great Hot Day of 2016

Brendan O'Connor

Published 24/07/2016 | 02:30

'Most people in Ireland find 30 degrees too hot. But people were egging on the mercury, willing it to get beyond the magic 30'
'Most people in Ireland find 30 degrees too hot. But people were egging on the mercury, willing it to get beyond the magic 30'

Like most things, the build up to it was the best. As we luxuriated in the existing good weather on Sunday and Monday, our minds were on Tuesday.

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They promised us it would be the hottest day of the year. And in our heads, we dreamt that maybe it would be the hottest day ever. It became, somehow, a matter of national pride. And it became about more than just a nice sunny day. It became about the numbers.

Most people in Ireland find 30 degrees too hot. But people were egging on the mercury, willing it to get beyond the magic 30. And then, somehow, we would be able to arise and take our place among the nations of the earth. Then we would be as good as the rest of them. Then we would be the best little country in the world. Don't we always say, if only we had the weather?

We proudly texted friends and family in Australia, and those who had been foolish enough to go on foreign holidays on this glorious week of all weeks. We sent them images of the temperature gauges in our cars. And we waited with bated breath for the big day. Tuesday. The day when it would get too hot, but when we would prove our point.

The day itself was somewhat marred by the fact that most of us had to work. But many didn't bother. After all, a day like this doesn't come around often. Technically, the hottest day of the year only comes once a year. But then again, this was only the hottest day of the year so far. Maybe it could be surpassed. With another hottest day of the year. But hardly. Conditions were perfect for this one. Things went according to plan on the day - 30 degrees was duly recorded in Mount Dillon in Co Roscommon. We had achieved our goal.

And for a day or two we were a different race. Somehow, we were more attractive, less worried about the petty things that drag us down normally. We were insouciant, half naked, half drunk, sensual, liberated. For a moment, we saw ourselves as Brazilians.

Our Catholic heritage dictated that the weather could not merely be enjoyed, but that it would end in disaster. So the airwaves were full of warnings. Dogs were not to be walked in daylight. There were killer jellyfish that could land you in A&E. With anaphylactic shock.

And sure enough, there was sun damage. It certainly went to some people's heads. Micheal Martin took a turn and started talking about a united Ireland, though he subsequently calmed down when back indoors. Enda Kenny, too, had a rush of blood and started talking about it, and then even Leo got in on it. If the weather had stayed hot, you imagine the crowd at MacGill would have marched from Glenties, high on summer-school free-thinking bonhomie and afternoon pints, torn down the non-existent border, and declared a new republic.

However, the weather cooled down, and everyone calmed down. But there is no doubt that everyone who saw it will never forget The Great Hot Day of 2016.

Sunday Independent

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