Monday, February 24, 2014

Dublin Summer {The best Irish summer in 18 years}

Summer 2013 was the nicest summer in Ireland in 18 year.  18 years!  It was newsworthy, people were sweltering in the heat, swimming in the sea and the canals and causing traffic jams on the roads to the beaches.  People were reminiscing about their memories from the Summer of '95, and tweeting about how they would tell their future grandkids about the summer of 2013.  

You may wonder what an Irish Summer so memorable is like.  Well, we're talking about warm weather - a few consecutive weeks in the upper 60's, a few days in the low 70's and maybe 1 day around 75.  And just over 2 full weeks without rain, not once.  If you had experienced Summer 2012, as we did (or presumably any other summer between 95' and '13), you would know this was nothing short of a miracle.
For perspective, 23°C = 73°F
To be fair, the days around these really warm days were also pretty nice, we saw a lot of sun in Ireland over the summer and it was a completely different country.  Everyone was outside every minute possible, enjoying every ray of sun.  And we did the same.

It's shocking that an island that rains so much can fear
a drought with 16 days without rain!
The first sign of summer came pretty early, and we jumped on the chance to dig out our sunglasses and enjoy a glass of wine, al fresco with some friends.

Abby & Brandon, before they moved to Sydney!
Rose on a rooftop patio
The sun brings out the biggest smiles
The next nice day we had, Brian and I decided to get on our bikes and go to the coast.  We only lived a few miles from the eastern coast, and we planned to just go there, but once we got there, we decided to keep going south towards the town Dun Laoghaire (pronounced: Done Leary).  It was probably 7 miles by bike, and we found a nice beach to hang out at for a while before heading to the market in town for lunch.
Biking along the coast
First time in the Irish Sea!
We only got our feet in, although there were tons of swimmers
At this point, I thought this might be as far into the Sea as I would ever get.
And then the tide came in, and we headed off to lunch
It was a great weekend, so the next day, we were back on our bikes and went to Phoenix Park, which is the biggest park in Dublin, for a picnic.
Where are we again?  Is this sun I feel?
And then this happened...a horse & cart came cruising through the park
Yes, we are in Ireland
And off we went again
A few weekends later, we did it all over again.  Back on the bikes, back down south to enjoy the sun, have some lunch, and this time we actually took our suits and jumped fully into the Irish Sea!  Mission accomplished.  I don't have photographic proof, but I'll tell you how it all happened...
We started the day warming up on a nice bluff, looking away from the crowds on the beach.
It was nice out, but it definitely wasn't at or over 75°F 
Look at the swarms of people enjoying the weather.
 This was the view opposite of our nice bluff
Then, we got hungry for lunch, so we biked down to the market.
I'm usually happy to stand in line for and ice cream, but today the line was waaaaaaay too long.
After lunch, we decided to go even further south, and found the famous "Forty Foot" swimming area
Pre Swim
This was it, we were going in.  Again, we find a bluff away from the crowds to warm up a bit before the swim.  This is also where I stopped taking the photos, but I promise it's all true.  After we warm up, we head down the bluff to a staircase going into the water.  Loads of people were just walking in and taking off for a swim.  Young people, old people, you name it.  We stepped onto the first step and the water was COLD.  Freezing.  Out I went.  It took Brian about a minute before he jumped and took the plunge.  He was maybe in the water for 30 seconds before he swam back to the stairs and got out.  Done.  It was cold.  

I was determined to get in, but it was seriously cold.  I couldn't even get up to my knees.  There was a girl, no more than 2 years old, who was almost all the way in with her dad.  Old women would just walk right in and swim away.  And what really set me over the edge, was the 10 year old girl who was jumping in and out, and according to her,  the stair case to the left was warmer.  Thanks, little girl, I don't need warmer.  It probably took me 20 minutes before I finally eased in and took a few strokes into the sea (head above the water, wet hair would not have been fun) and a few strokes back.  It was icy cold.  Shockingly cold, like can't move your arms or legs cold.  I was out in about 10 seconds, but I did it!  And I proudly reported to all my colleagues that I swam in the Irish Sea.
Post swim
We passed this place on our way out.  It was an area of shallow, warm water.
I could have done this, no problem.
As I mentioned, we took full advantage of the sun.  The next nice day, we decided we had gone South enough, and instead we went North, to Howth.  The bike ride was a bit further this time.  Again, we started at a beach, then I convinced Brian to go on the Howth Head Hike, which I had been wanting to do for a while.
Biking up to Howth
Today's beach
View on the Howth Head Hike - there is a lighthouse on the tip but it's hard to see in the photo
Enjoying the view
Flowers, boats and the sea
walking along the trail
Rest stop
blue sea and sky
obviously my idea
After an afternoon of biking and hiking, we came home and Brian BBQ'ed a delicious dinner
Yum - chicken, aubergine (eggplant to us) and mushrooms
And we still had enough energy to go to our favorite live Trad session at the Stag's Tail.
These guys play every Friday & Saturday night, and have been for years.
The last nice day that was well documented we took the bus south to Powerscourt House & Gardens.  It's a large estate with beautiful gardens that was originally built in the 13th century, but has been renovated throughout the years.  In the 1960's it was sold to the current owners, who opened it up to the public.  We brought a picnic lunch and enjoyed an afternoon walking around the gorgeous grounds.  It actually felt like something you would find in France, or Italy, it was very European.
Just walking into the gardens
Sun maks him happy enough to smell the flowers
selfie with the fowers
garden gates

picnicking 
looking back at the estate
beautiful views
The patio of the Estate


Exploring

It was beautiful
parting shot
 Well, that sums it up.  We tried to spend as much time outside as possible.  Any nice day, we took advantage of it.
Ha'penny Bridge
I am so happy we were able to experience this weather in Ireland.  The previous summer was not summer at all.  It rained and hailed and was grey all summer long.  It was miserable.  18 years is a long time to wait for a summer like this, so I really hope it's not another 18 before they get some more sun in Ireland.  Either way, it's a good thing the Spanish coast is so close.


1 comment:

  1. Love reading about your adventures!! I will also book mark this so that when it is over 100 degrees this summer for 2 months straight I can day dream about the Irish sea!
    Kim

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