Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

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The height of the Irish Summer?

June 20, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: localinfo, Reflections

This weekend sees the arrival of the Summer Solstice 2009 for the northern hemisphere, or the Winter Solstice if you happen to live south of the equator. As I write in my office in Kilmaley, Co. Clare I can see that it is quite windy outside and the sun is shining from a partially clouded sky. It doesn’t feel at all like what I think the longest day of the year should feel like with the temperature around 15C. WolframAlpha tells me that the story is similar 40 miles south across the Shannon Estuary in Listowel – the temperature is 16C with a relative humidity of 72%, a wind of 8m/s under a cloudy sky. What became of the glorious summer days we experienced at this year’s Writers’ Week festival I wonder?

Like most Irish people, I’m eternally hopeful that one of these years we will get a proper summer – you know the kind I mean: long warm sunny days with little wind and blue skies, and the very odd light shower of rain to keep the plants from wilting altogether. The last one was in 1995, and the one before that 1984. Beyond that I can’t tell, though I do remember some very wet summers in the 1970s when it was impossible to save the hay or draw out the turf from the bog. The worst summer on record was definitely last year’s when we had rain day after day often puntuated by torrential downpours, rarely by extended sunny spells. I don’t want to go through another “summer” like that one.

So on this Solstice weekend I pray the meteorological deities will look kindly upon us and grant us a proper summer in 2009.


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