* HOW much are we influenced and shaped by the weather? I am convinced that the principal reason Ireland has produced so many great writers, never mind Nobel laureates, is because of the introspection and reflection that being trapped inside, under a lowering sky, instills.
Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan, James Joyce and Brian O'Nolan honed their craft while sitting in the snugs and smoky booths of the city, taking respite from the damp, all-pervasive gloom outside.
So how will we cope with the forecast 10 days of clear blue skies and serotonin-drenched sunshine?
One thinks of the immortal lines in the movie 'The Third Man' spoken by Harry Lime (Orson Welles): "In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love – they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
I can't imagine the great illuminators in our monasteries would ever have finished the Book of Kells had they been able to head down to the beach for a few cans under a piercing sun.
The lashing rain and biting cold kept them cloistered and confined, chaining them to their task.
How then will we behave in the searing heat when the cows start producing evaporated milk, the chickens start laying hard-boiled eggs and the trees start whistling for the dogs to cool down?
I am planning to cast away my bodhran, go into the kitchen and find my biggest pans and start my own Caribbean steel band.
After all those winter cold fronts, I am going to enjoy a warm back. And if anyone asks me how do I find the weather, I will say it's easy. I just went outside – and there it was.
LET'S GIVE IT A TRY
* If a Scottish rugby fan had saved assiduously to follow the Lions to Australia, how much satisfaction would he/she derive from shouting for 10 Welshmen, three Irishmen and two Englishmen in the final decisive test match?
I suggest that an equal number of players be chosen from each of the four countries. National rivalry and one-upmanship would thus be diluted. There would be more allegiance to the Lions jersey.
This system may not produce the very best combination available, but at least it would be more representative and generate less jingoism. Speaking of which, can anybody remember which team defeated Wales in the opening week of this year's Six Nations championship?
Enfield, Co Meath
HUMBLE PIE ON MENU
* By his shrewd team selection, Warren Gatland masterminded a remarkable victory.
The conundrum now is, what do the rugby hacks do with their sharpened knives? Cut humble pie?
* I just want to let you know how impressed I am with your coverage of the Anglo tapes. The way in which you are drip-feeding the information is giving us all time to digest. You are making these important issues clear and understandable to all.
You are exposing the continuing serious weaknesses in Irish business, administrative and political governance. I do not believe any inquiry could achieve the good you are doing with your handling of this matter.
When all is said and done, the courts and your newspaper will be seen as among the few honest brokers in this saga.
Address with editor
HEROES OR HINDRANCES?
* In 1987, the late anti-EU economist Raymond Crotty made a name for himself by mounting a legal challenge in the Irish Supreme Court against our ratifying the Single European Act.
In 2009, Euro-sceptic entrepreneur Declan Ganley campaigned against the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Now we have European Affairs Minister Lucinda Creighton vehemently dissenting with the proposed legislation on abortion as dictated by her "conscience".
Are these people trying to go down in history as the heroes who saved Ireland from damnation, or are they just preventing the country from moving on?
I wonder if part of Ms Creighton's conscience would be the notion that since 1980, 147,881 Irish women have sought abortions in Britain.
Another question for her is if she expected the Government to do nothing following the Savita Halappanavar case.
Then we had politician Eamon O Cuiv stating that if the abortion bill is passed it would open the floodgate to abortion on demand. Perhaps he meant it would open the floodgate to thousands of Irish women who wish to exercise their sacrosanct human right to choice.
Concetto La Malfa
NO RIGHT TO TAKE LIFE
* Have we the right to destroy a human foetus?
Western society has found and lost many things on its journey towards greater development. With the advances in technology we are now in danger of treating the natural world as a collection of objects to be used and disposed of as we wish.
The human foetus is not an object to be discarded at will. It has the innate intelligence and the blueprint to reach its own potential.
Regardless of the circumstances of its arrival, it has an innate natural and human right to live and contribute its unique gifts to our evolving planet and universe.
How can we embody a law that allows the suicidal ideation of a mother to decide the fate of her unborn child? Simply having the ability and the power through the enactment of a law does not give us a right to take a life.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin
* There are proposals for legislation that will allow for medical intervention to save the life of a mother during pregnancy. When I was a child, and indeed all through my growing up, I heard the term "she had the baby taken from her" when the life of a mother was threatened because of her pregnancy.
That was a long time ago, when Ireland was under the thumb of Mother Church.
Common sense prevailed, so distressed women were allowed to live and go home to those who loved them. They did not endure the indignity of having strangers wanting a say in their personal lives.
All over Cork there are disgusting posters. There is the suggestion that if a mother is saved and a baby does not survive in hospital, then the word "murder" is used.
Stop and think about the fear these divisive messages spread among the public, especially women, who must be in charge of their own bodies and pregnancy when and if they encounter a life-threatening crisis.
Take down those dreadful pictures which are in bad taste and only seek to glibly criminalise medical practices due to ignorance and fervour.
Bantry, Co Cork
LISTEN TO CONSCIENCE
* I appeal to those who will vote on the coming legislation not to go against their conscience, as this will affect their peace of mind and their whole person – mind, body and spirit – for the rest of their lives.