Warm summer shows us joys of holidaying at home
IT is only when we have a prolonged warm spell that most Irish people get to actually encounter the joys of their own country. Overseas holiday bookings have fallen dramatically it seems, as people stay at home to enjoy the hot weather of recent weeks. As a result tour operators and airlines are now offering bargains to drum up some business and lure the Irish to guaranteed sunshine.
The downpours that interspersed the sunshine across parts of the country over the last 48 hours may very well be all the encouragement they need.
But there are genuinely good reasons for staying in Ireland, apart from merely enjoying that rare event – a good Irish summer. People do actually come to this country for things the locals just don't get.
The Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Zoo and the Cliffs of Moher are the main fee-paying local attractions, with over 1 million visitors each, according to figures released yesterday.
And there are any amount of galleries, museums and ancient sites which are free.
But one of the real joys of a good Irish summer is the landscape that surrounds us, the beaches, the hills, the woodland walks. A lot of the things we take for granted are also free, and the sunshine certainly shows them at their very best.