Freak weather hits Ireland.

We cannot understand it.  What with all of the bad weather in the rest of the world, flooding in central Europe and tropical storms and tornadoes in the USA.  Irish people knew there was definitely something weird going on when we had our own unseasonable wave of weather here this week.  Every Irish person from the time they can talk as babes are experts on the state of the atmosphere, having as many adjectives to describe drizzle as an Eskimo has for snow.  As a nation we are used to talking in hushed tones about our greatest regret – The Irish Summer and most time dare not speak its name.  We think nothing of leaving home with a jacket, Wellington boots, an umbrella and a pair of water wings from May to September:

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Beach holidaying in style, 2012.

wpid1302-BrianCooneyPhotography-1002271.jpgWe go to the beach to sit in the car, it’s a place for voyeurs.  Never venturing very far from its cocooning safety they wait:

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Summer 2012.  Enniscrone.  Co. Sligo.

A favorite game is to watch from its bosom as angry cumulonimbus clouds roar in from the storm-tossed Atlantis ocean during the months of June, July & August.  Catching  innocent by-standers unawares,  out for their post Sunday lunch stroll to walk of the dinner in the middle of the day.

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We take bets (all in good jest)  on how long it will take the driver to find the car keys in a pocket, struggling vainly against the tempest as it lashes him with wet sand filling his eyes and every other orifice exposed, the rest of the family cower in abject misery imploring and pleading the God’s on high to help, hurry up, open the door, make it stop, make it stop!

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Is it a trap?

This week though, the climate has seen an even more curious turn than usual.  Last weekend, was a bank holiday where the majority of people planned to head out of the cities in trepidation having all fingers and toes crossed & several decades of the rosary said.  The ice cream sellers had been watching the long-range forecast since Easter and felt none too confident that they would have a job the week after,  sun cream salespeople have already been put on protective notice after the worst – the wettest – the coldest– spring in living memory.   Packing beach wear and umbrellas, gortex jackets, trousers, a cape, a pair of Wellingtons and enough flotation material to build an arc in an emergency they headed to the coast to be pleasantly surprised!  The weather was not inclement, in fact it was possible to bare some skin at the beach, provided one had a survival blanket, something hot to drink, don’t dilly dally and only uncover up as far as the knees.  The wind wasn’t too strong, just a light onshore gale, enough to caress the goose bumps and fill the sandwiches with sand, but no, all in all, it wasn’t too bad, have the car handy though just in case….

This week with people back at work and the Leaving cert exams started (the final exam before finishing second level school)  suddenly it took a turn for the wonderful!  Temperatures have soared… into the early twenties and the sky has been blue every single day, the blue, blue sea is calm swishing its benign way, gently ashore, everybody is smiling, talking about how marvellous the sun is and isn’t blue such a beautiful, cool colour.

wpid1284-BrianCooneyPhotography-1000697.jpgCalm crossing to the Aran Islands!

People wonder have we been transported to some other Mediterranean paradise without realising it, or is this a collective hallucination?

wpid1293-BrianCooneyPhotography-8073.jpgRush hour, Sligo.

Sun cream has run out and is now only available on the black market at exorbitant expense, the pubs have run out of beer, there are no bucket and spades to be had for love nor money and the beaches are all packed with lobster red –sober for the first time–people who know that something somewhere has gone seriously awry:  What about the recession?  words like Bailout now only apply when talking about one’s yacht and the only development that anyone is contemplating developing is a tan.  The phrase chillax is in common use with sophisticated urbanite and plain old country folk alike.

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Caught in the rat race.  Enniscrone.

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Building boom.  Enniscrone Co. Sligo.

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Stressed out in Sligo.

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Ghost estate on Inis Mor. the Aran Islands.

We all agree that this is the most beautiful country in the whole wide world and plans are afoot to ensure it stays that way by building a huge roof to cover it.  This scheme, it is hoped,  will reignite the construction industry, revive the fortunes of Sean Dunne and the other building Barons who, no longer able to afford eating a la carte in the most expensive restaurants now must content themselves like other mere mortals to the sparse and meagre set menu at Roly’s bistro.  The Fiannna Fail Party, the political ring masters of the Celtic Tiger, are readying to re-order the big top for the Galway races this year, going forward bravely to the post Celtic Tiger boom and their return from the political wilderness.

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The roaring black market, Ireland.

There is an uneasy feeling behind it all, we know this is not normal weather for summer, we say things like “isn’t the weather only mighty!”   ” jaysus it is but I hope we’re not getting our summer now”  and “sure isn’t it grand altogether but its getting fierce dry, it hasn’t rained for 3 full days and sure we could end up with a drought”.  For although this is the start of something that everybody hopes will be a glorious summer, we are none to sure we can handle it.  It could lead to mass unemployment with the rain coat manufacturers going out of business.  After the last couple of summers the banks have loaned heavily and recklessly to the Wellington manufacturers, a sure thing, a rising market that can only rise, this time it’s different.   We remember the last banking crash, but sure lightning never strikes twice…..

People are beginning to say you should be careful what you wish for, “this could all blow back in our faces” after all and “sure what will happen if the money from Europe dries up” and “wasn’t bottled water the biggest growth industry here?”  In a matter of weeks people will begin to pray and dance for rain.  They will curse the sky, blue has always been a dubious colour here since the blue shirts (even though they are in power at the moment…)  

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A crowded Connemara beach as the sun goes down in the west.

But for the moment we are content to sit back and enjoy the weather, like a starving man in the crowded Titanic restaurant grabbing the last table to enjoy his dinner knowing this is not his order but it’s even more delicious because it was meant for someone else.  We will occupy the beaches and the ice cream parlours, buy too many sun glasses and design, build and sell sand castles for grossly inflated prices knowing that this can’t last forever so dance, dance, dance before the music stops!  Play on! maestro, play on!

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About briancooney123

HOW I GOT HERE Of course, I wasn’t always a full time photographer. I spent a lot of time in the corporate world. I had a job which paid well, but just didn’t excite me. I remember the day when I had had enough. Enough of selling myself short, enough of dreaming too small, enough of doing what others expected of me. I had put away my dreams and told myself I would get back to them later, but somehow there always seemed to be something else that had to get done first. A friend of mine had recommended I take the NLP Business Practitioners course, and although I was really busy, I decided to do it. During that time, I began to imagine the different paths my life could take from here. While I had a hazy picture of what this other life might look like, I had a clear picture of where my current life was going if I didn’t change. It was a scary moment, a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff deciding whether to jump into the great unknown or stay on the cliff, safe but trapped. I jumped. The transition to the life I wanted was challenging The transition to the life I wanted was challenging but I would never go back. After that day I resolved to do what I love, to follow my bliss.  Picking up a camera after several years away, I found that many things had changed, the digital age had arrived. In the intervening years, I was too busy to pay any attention to my photography, and occasionally when I took something I really liked, I would think “how do some photographs seem so captivating and others leave me completely cold?” I knew this is what I was meant to do Somehow though, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I dedicated myself to learning everything I could about being a photographer. I took many, many courses and I read every book I could get my hands on, I still do. Since then, I have dedicated myself to helping other creative photographers achieve the results they want. And what a journey it has been. Last year I qualified as a coach. My main area of interest is creativity and helping others to express their vision. WHAT I BELIEVE Along the way, I’ve learnt that there are no rules. Experiment, explore, play. My advice is to make your art from your heart, not for the praise or the money.  Lighten up. It’s important to take your photography seriously, but it's a mistake to take yourself too seriously. Finally, you get what you want when you never, ever give up so enjoy every minute of it and just do it!
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8 Responses to Freak weather hits Ireland.

  1. Amen and isn’t it just fabulous. MM

  2. Kath Wood says:

    Love it, Brian!

  3. Huffygirl says:

    When we visited Ireland in 2005 I had no idea the weather could be so rainy and blustery. We actually ended up with about 7 of the 10 days with pretty decent, often sunny weather, and didn’t find out until afterwards that that was not the norm. Had I known the weather was expected to be so bad, I might not have come, and missed seeing your beautiful country that has been calling me to come back ever since.

  4. mudlips says:

    Ah, you’ve writing talent too! I always enjoy your photos and today was surprised by lovely text accompaniment. Nicely done.

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