"If only it weren't raining," bemoans my travel
companion. I'm in total agreement. Over the course of our travels, this phrase
grows into a joke between us. Ireland is
a lush, green place. As we quickly
discover, this is due to the huge amount of rain that dumps on the land. In the summer months. To our disappointment.
Coming from Los Angeles, the land of perpetual sun, we are
two sun-babies looking for a cloudless sky.
Especially in June - I mean, c'mon.
This is why I left my hometown of Seattle, Washington. Sunlight and warmth are necessary for the
health of our psyches. We both tend to
get a bit town it the dumps when the sun goes away. My travel companion is even more sensitive to
sunlight, because he need it to do his photography.
So, through the course of our time in Ireland, I learn that
weather is the number factor in our travels - it determines everything we can
and cannot do. It is important to accept
this fact, because you have no control over it.
And I want to share some ways we found to amuse ourselves in the rain.
Napping in the car is a good one. How often in your adult life do you get the
opportunity to take a nap midday? When
it's raining outside and there's nowhere else to go for cover, take the
opportunity to indulge. It is quite
Stay in your car and keep on driving. Put the windshield wipers on full blast. It is exciting to navigate those tiny, windy
roads, especially with diminished visibility.
Go underground. There
are lots of caves to tour, especially in areas of limestone rock beds, such as The Burren. The heavy rains make the underground rivers
Get out into the rain - feel it. Go to the beach and watch the stormy waters -
the wind may evens stir up a sandstorm on the beach. Hike to a waterfall and see the sheer
magnitude of water coming over the edge.
Duck for cover. Hit
the museums and heritage centers. These
are educational places to stay dry. Tour
the inside of a castle or a fort - bunkered in from the rain, you get the true
feeling of just how sturdily constructed they are..
Do a sun dance. And
do it with some real feeling. The more
of yourself you put into the movements and artistry, the more likely the skies
are to clear.
Chill out in your car with the heat on the and radio
up. RTE Lyric FM is a great station; we
got to know all the programs. The JK
Ensemble is excellent.
Caffeine always helps lighten the mood. It is a poison in the bloodstream that
quickens the heartbeat, which forces blood to coerce more quickly through the
veins to disperse it from your system.
Neveryoumind this, the quickening feeling is good, and I think it has an
antidepressant effect, at least on me.
This could be why Irish people drink more tea per capita that any other
country in the EU. So, when the rain is
coming down, duck into a café or pub or hotel lobby, and share a pot of tea for
The same is true for alcoholic drinks, though they have the
opposite effect on the body, slowing it down, mellowing it out, numbing pain
caused the wet coldness. Drink a glass
of Irish whiskey to warm up your bones.
Sip a cold pint of Guinness.
Irish coffee is another good and confusing one for the system. Duck into a pub until the rain cloud passes.
Start writing - a letter, a journey entry, a novel. Nothing like a little time in doors to focus
Beware of the midges.
They are tiny, biting mosquitoes that come out after the rains,
especially in woodlands and near lakes.
Vacate the area if it looks like the rain is about to stop. They've figured out a way to get inside your
locked car, so don't think you can outsmart them this way.
Don't let the rain scare you. After all, a little water never hurt
anyone. Do what you'd normally do. Camp in the rain. Set up your tent. Just don't set it too close to the shore of a
body of water that might grow under heavy rains. We ran into a problem with this in Killarney.
Go with the flow.
Sure, you've arrived at a gorgeous sandy beach, just perfect for sunbathing,
but the rains are pouring. So accept
that you cannot run around in your swimsuit, and move on. Keep driving.
When the rain stops, you just might be in a place that is more
Written by Liz O'Malley - Summer of Travel 2007