Friday 15 December 2017

John Daly: It's hard to have a sunny disposition when the whole nation is under the weather

"We are moving into uncharted waters as record flood levels bring home the fact that climate change is real and here to stay," said Green Party leader Eamon Ryan. Photo: Tom Burke

John Daly

Dropping my old friend Mark to the plane earlier this week after his first Christmas home in five years, he said goodbye with a wistful smile: "I'm heading back to Buenos Aires, one of the most financially insecure places in the world, where social services are poor, sexism is rife, and taxation makes even a simple iPhone exorbitant. But after 12 days of relentless rain and wind, I can't wait to see the blue skies of Argentina."

Hard to argue with a sentiment that was likely shared by many other thousands of ex-pats heading back to sunnier shores. It made me recall Frank McCourt's indelible lines from Angela's Ashes: "The rain drove us into the church - our refuge, our strength, our only dry place. Limerick gained a reputation for piety, but we knew it was only the rain."

If conversations about the weather have always been an integral aspect of the Irish character, the last six weeks have seen this cultural inclination reach a whole new level of exclamation. The Almighty, a presence never far from any Irish discussion, was repeatedly invoked everywhere from Malin to Mizen over the past six weeks. Ranging from gratitude ("We barely missed the worst of it, thank God) to supplication ("Please God, t'will be gone soon"), the weather in all its varied guises will eventually funnel back to the fundamental question beloved of every Irish Mammy: "Will there be good drying out later, d'you think?"

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