We’re blessed of course. Not just with the weather this last while, which was just a passing fancy after all, but the endless miles of sandy beaches that we could enjoy it on.
Unlike the sunshine, these coastal treasures are with us all the time. Probably why we take them so much for granted.
Most of us are within easy reach of some delicious slice of our coastline, stretching a magnificent 4,675 miles all told.
Even those living slap in the middle of this island are never more than 55 miles from either the Atlantic or Irish Sea.
Athlone, generally acknowledge as Ireland’s land-locked capital, it is still only an hour and a blink from the rugged Galway coast.
Not much of an ordeal, even on a scorcher. Contrast that with the inhabitants of sweltering mid-summer South Dakota, who are 1,400 miles from salt water.
But which beach? It does appears a very personal choice and – on the evidence of a Newstalk chat between Pat Kenny and travel writer Pól Ó Conghaile (of this parish) – it has as much to do with memory as postcard aesthetics.
Keem Strand came out tops. Tucked discreetly into a western corner of Achill Island, this swimmer’s paradise is a sight for all eyes, sore or otherwise. If God hadn’t created it, John Hinde would have had to make it up.
But I love it for different reasons. It was there, on a blustery summer’s day, that our middle child took her first steps. Captured in Kodachrome and framed.
When you begin to root through memories of summers gone by it is amazing how you locate them. Not so much by the year, but by which beach you created them on.
For me as a young child it would have been around Cork Harbour. Humble coves like Graball Bay and Fountainstown. While those memories are unsteady they are captured forever by creased black and while photos.
A little later it was Youghal’s front strand. I remember grabbing mackerel by the handful on the water’s edge and running across the road home to immediately gut, then fry in butter. Nothing ever tasted like that again.
I would be hard pushed to tell you the year, but I can still feel that hard rippled sand beneath my feet.
There have been may others. Inchydoney, in West Cork, Curracloe in Wexford and, as recently as last week, Ballymoney in the same county.
But if I had to choose one it would be Fermoyle in Kerry. Its white, pristine sands stretch dramatically from underneath Mount Brandon all the way to the Maherees.
Again, it’s what I remember rather than the majestic sweep of the place that gives it a special place in my heart. The children where young that summer and while life was chaotic it, was good. So good.
The best beach is the one you were happiest on. The one where the sun always seemed to shine.