1907: It Rains in Ireland


Irish rain of the summer and autumn is a kind of damp poem. It is humid fragrance, and it has a way of stealing into your life which disarms anger. It is a soft, apologetic, modest kind of rain, as a rule; and even in its wildest moods, it gives you the impression that it is treating you as well as it can under the circumstances. It does not come heralded by dust and thunder and accompanied by lightning, and roaring tempests, like the rain of the tropics. Nor does it wet you to the bones in five minutes. You scarcely know when it begins. It grows on you by degrees. It comes on the scene veiled in soft shadows and hazes, and maybe a silver mist. You think the day is beginning to look like rain, and you are not wrong. But you also think that it may clear off; no doubt, it often thinks so itself. Nevertheless, it finally decides not to clear off. The shadows deepen. The hazes thicken. And was that a drop you felt? It was-just a drop. Another comes presently, and you feel it on your cheek. Then a few more come. Then the rest of the family encircle you shyly. They are not cold or heavy or splashy. They fall on you as if they were coming from the eyes of many angels weeping for your sins. They caress you rather than pelt you, and they are laden with perfume from the meadow flowers,or the glistening trees, or the sweet, rich earth, or the heathery bogland. But they soak you all the same. In due course you are wet to the skin. They fold you in, do those spells of Irish rain, and make of you a limp, sodden, unsightly thing in their soft embraces. They soak the road and make it slippy,and your. bicycle wobbles now and then; and you have to ride it through the mud by the ditch, where the blades of grass and pebbles and leafdrifts give a grip to the tyres.

At first, perhaps, you dread the rain. You regard it as a calamity. The mud on the road is too much for your tyres, and your limited experience, and you have some unpleasant falls. You are spilled into the ditch or over the handle bars, or thrown on your back a helpless case. You would exchange places with the dirtiest tramp you have ever met on a fair day, or with the most extensively married tinker that you have ever met concentrating on Abbeyshrule. But after two or three months you become weather-proof. You get used to the softness of the weather. You acquire such skill in ‘riding for a fall,’ that even if you do come down it is only on your feet.

—William Bulfin, Rambles in Eirinn  (1907)


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