Ok. So for those of you who know me, you know that winter is by far my least favorite season. First of all, I just hate being cold. I don’t care how much people say you can put on more clothes, the fact of the matter is that I don’t want to put on more clothes. I don’t want to have to dress like the abominable snowman just to walk to the mailbox. Second, there’s the ice. Driving on it is like I don’t even know the right word for it. Suicidal, maybe? And walking on it is the same thing! I know way too many people who have slipped and fallen and broken limbs and other body parts. No thank you!
The punchline to all of this is that I have never actually lived in a cold weather place. A Floridian by birth and now a Northern Arizona transplant, my experience with winter is limited. We get our 2 or 3 snows per year here and then it’s gone in a max of 3 days. I know nothing of deep freezes, blizzards, ice storms or lake effect snow, and sorry my Montanan and Minnesotan friends, but I have no desire to trade places with you. Boston is my absolute favorite city in the United States, but I will never live there because you guessed it…..winter! Which raises the question…..why have I spent the past three Februarys in Ireland, a place notorious for wind, rain and cold temperatures? Now having experienced an Irish summer, I finally feel like I can speak objectively on the matter.
- Rains: The cold, hard fact (pun intended) here is that it rains in Ireland no matter what time of year it is, no matter where in the country you are. If you are going to spend any amount of time there, you will get rained on. So just take your raincoat, umbrella and wellies. There is no use trying to dodge the weather. It will meet you face to face as soon as you get off the airplane. I’ve had rain in the fall, rain in the spring, rain in the summer, rain in the winter. Don’t ever expect it not to rain, because trust me, it will.
- Cost: Now that we know what to expect from the weather, wintertime can be an awesome time to cash in to cheap airfare to Ireland and lower hotel rates. This past July, I paid $1,396 for a plane ticket from Phoenix to Dublin. In February the exact same route cost me $350. You do the math.
- Crowds: Who wants to visit somewhere the exact same time as everyone else and their brother wants to go? No one. That’s who. There’s long lines (queues), higher prices, extended wait times that mean you either get into your attraction late or aren’t able to get in at all, which just leads to annoyance, frustration and disappointment. Welcome to summer in Ireland. Tour buses, massive groups, jam packed pubs. Yeah. No thanks. True, wintertime means that some attractions have shorter opening hours, but there’s a reason for that. They don’t have to accommodate as many guests! If you don’t have to navigate a colossal horde, then chances are you won’t need extra time and can see everything you set out to see.
- Sunshine: More on the weather. I have to tell you, I was thrilled when that illusive Irish sunshine came out and the temperature reached a whopping 70 degrees! What a treat it was to sit on St. Stephen’s Green and eat an ice cream cone. But honestly, I live in Arizona. I eat ice cream outside all the time. What I don’t see everyday is misty fog, sheep grazing on rolling hills of green and castle ruins in the distance. Let’s face it! Those are the things that everyone comes to Ireland to see! The weather is part of what sets the mood! If it was warm outside there would be no need to take shelter in front of the fireplace of a cozy pub, cradling a dram of whiskey to keep you warm. Trust me, for full effect, embrace Irish winter, you won’t be Sorry that you did!!