Tuesday 19 September 2017

The year of blustering bankers, an endless summer and dirty dancing

After five years of recession, the living seemed easier in the summer of 2013, writes Donal Lynch

Niamh Horan in Fade Street Social restaurant, Dublin, with a dish of horse meat cooked by chef Dylan McGrath (photo: Gerry Mooney)
Niamh Horan in Fade Street Social restaurant, Dublin, with a dish of horse meat cooked by chef Dylan McGrath (photo: Gerry Mooney)

Donal Lynch

THERE was twerking, dodgy horsemeat, a new pope and bank tapes galore for future editions of Reeling In The Years. But when all was said and done, 2013 was the year that Ireland once again seemed like a place worth living in.

After five years of recession and a winter that pounded us into submission for eight months we had been starting to not so much pity the hordes of emigrants as envy them. The misery was starting to seep into our bones. The work paranoia festered. The scrimping and saving dragged us down. We couldn't take another news story about ghost estates. People were talking about the prospect of a 'double dip', and not in a sexy way. By spring the farmers, who marched to little sympathy, were echoing John Betjeman: "There isn't grass to graze a cow, Swarm over, Death!"

Then came the summer. At first we didn't believe it. We rushed out to get sunburned quickly and photograph ourselves in it -- 'selfie' entered the Oxford English Dictionary for the first time this year -- just so we would remember it really happened. But then it kept going. The sun stayed out, all day and much of the night; a celestial anti-depressant that they couldn't tax. Day after day the gorgeous weather continued, cleansing us of the horror of the previous half-decade, almost making up for the fact that we can no longer afford proper sun holidays. After a while they started crediting it with kick-starting the economy again. Those of us who had jobs began to believe in them again. We started buying things -- probably sunscreen to start, but then we might have gone mental and splashed out on an ice cream, and the Troika gave us another pat on the head.

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