Ireland turns icy, hail falling amid cold rain

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It’s storming here in Ireland. Ice cold hail just beating down on the hillside. We went for a walk in it, just to try out our sea legs against the storm. In less than hour, we were drenched even in our rain gear. I think we won’t be trying any more walks in this today. It’s too wretched. The hail beating down on the rhododendrons, ferns and buttercups. The sheep don’t seem to mind a bit. The cottage where we’re staying is at the very end of the road; it sits out here on the edge of the wild. This is an Irish summer; hail throwing itself on the roof and hillside. Hail turning to driving rain and back. It feels like the whole house is rocking on its foundations. There’s nothing to do but be indoors. The cyclists who are all around this part of Western Ireland are all safe in their hotel rooms. The river and waterfall by the cottage is thundering, huge galloping swashes of water thick and foaming over the rocks and dashing down below, bushes bending into the river and wash of it. Clouds envelop the mountains. We’re inside now, listening to Sexy Beast soundtrack and wondering why we didn’t bring more music. “I’m a good listener, Gal, talk to me,” Ben Kingsley says and then doesn’t listen at all.

There are people who really listen like my friend Lisa, and there are people who don’t really hear a thing you say.

It’s weird how much differently you think when there are no electronics. We have no working phones or Wifi and of course no movies. We can use our computers as a typewriter and we can listen to music, that’s it. You feel your brain moving and going places it hasn’t gone before. It’s like your brain on Star Trek without Star Trek if you know what I mean.

All day long the wind and storming keeps going. When we first got here, we wondered why the Irish didn’t grow more vegetables as everything except mushrooms and potatoes seemed to be coming from South America, Spain and the Netherlands. Now we know. No self respecting tomato or lettuce would grow in torrents of cold rain and ice. It’s amazing the flowers can keep themselves upright. A melon wouldn’t be caught dead in this weather, it would stick out its melon thumbs and hitchhike to Spain or Portugal in a frozen minute. There is no Irish wine. They’ve got Guinness. The wine comes from Italy, France, Spain and even some Malbecs from Australia. None of the wine we’ve tried has been very good, I’ve tried a lot of it since we arrived but have yet to find a decent bottle. I’m almost reduced to Jameson.

What you need to get around here is boots. Big rain boots. Rain slickers and plenty of peat for the fire. The Irish don’t seem to have much wood to burn, the hillsides and mountains are mostly just grass all the way to the top, so they dig peat out of the ground and that’s what gets burned. It smells thick and earthy like a hedgehog home or a badger home. It doesn’t burn very hot; it’s a sort of slow dirty burn, but you get used to it. There are peat farmers who spend their time digging the peat out of the earth and selling it as little peat logs. Life moves very slowly in Ireland. There’s sheep and there’s peat farming, and there are the pubs. And the hail. It’s a good place to get writing done because you aren’t distracted by anything silly like say, sunshine.

Published in: on June 14, 2013 at 8:28 am  Leave a Comment  

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