Sunday, July 17, 2005

Weathering the beach

Today I found myself lying on an Irish beach in just my bikini for the first time since we arrived on the Emerald Isle almost 4 years ago.

We had heard a rumour that today was going to be a scorcher (i.e. anything over 24 degrees, for those of you unaccustomed to Irish weather) so we woke up bright and early... okay, we woke up bright, since 9:45am doesn't really count as early... actually we just woke up - I'm never bright first thing in the morning... oh hell, where was I? Never mind; the point is we went to the beach.

When we first lay down on our towels in the sand it was still fairly cloudy, but we were prepared to wait for the sun. We weren't disappointed. As I was lying there on my stomach trying to blank out the voice of the most annoying man on the planet (no, not my hubby - some tosser who, although he was some distance away, had a voice that travelled the entire length of the fine, golden sand so that everyone in a 100m radius could hear how his diet is going - not well, by the way), I suddenly felt my skin becoming quite hot, and when I opened my eyes the sky was blue and the sun was blazing away. Woo hoo!

Portmarnock Beach

The reason I'm so pleased with this whole suntanning thing is that in a fortnight we're off to spend a week in the Greek Isles, and I'll be very pleased if I'm not translucently pale when we arrive, since I don't really want to blind the people who live there 'cos I believe they're actually quite nice.
To be honest, I'm also a little embarrassed to be seen in public in a bikini looking like I've spent the last 4 years of my life living underground with no exposure to sunlight. In other words, I look just like all those Northern Hemisphere people I used to make fun of when I lived in South Africa - those pale specimens who stand out like beacons on our beaches. I promise I will never make fun of them again!

Which is not to say that I won't bitch about the fact that the Irish have no beach etiquette, although, in fairness, I suppose this is to be expected when you live in a country where you only get a handful of days each year that could be considered "beach weather".

For example, there was the previously-mentioned tosser talking (and occasionally making an attempt to sing!) at the top of his voice. I mean, this dude was seriously loud!
Then came the gaggle of teenage girls, bounding past within inches of our heads in their slip-on shoes, causing miniature sandstorms to engulf us. The beach wasn't that crowded, there was enough room for them to have avoided us completely... but then, the Irish have no concept of personal space - probably stemming from the good ol' Irish-Catholic tradition of having large families and small houses.

Another phenomenon were the gangs of eastern European youngsters (there are a lot of Latvians and Russians in this country) sitting around in track-suit bottoms drinking beer. Oddly enough, they were less intrusive than most of the innocent-looking family types. Go figure!

And then, of course, there were the obligatory groups of Spanish students who invade Ireland every summer, all looking gorgeously tanned and blabbering so fast you wonder how they ever understand each other, and always at top volume.
I can't help wondering if they come over here to avoid all the Irish who go over to Spain in the summer, on their annual Sun holiday.

Aah, nothing like a peaceful day on the beach!

Ireland's Eye island just off the mainland near Howth

It wasn't all bad though - I saw some stuff that made me smile, too:

  • A young man who had probably just come from Church, walking hand in hand along the sand with his girlfriend - she's in shorts & flip-flops and he's in a suit, complete with shiny shoes and socks;
  • A father quietly supervising two pre-teen boys carrying a metal detector - they were really excited when they found their first 1c coin!
  • An ice-cream van came trundling along and was mobbed as soon as it stopped. I smiled at this 'cos it made me think of our own ice-cream sellers in SA, pushing their 3-wheeled ice-cream buggies in their blue overalls and ringing their bells, followed by gaggles of children as if they were the Pied Piper.
  • Also, when the sun shines, this country is really pretty. Not in the wild, majestic way that makes SA such a beautiful country, but in a picturesque kind of way. The sea is flat and calm and blue - along this stretch of coast you very seldom see waves in the Irish Sea, and the islands that can be seen from Portmarnock beach add a nice touch to the scenery.
  • And finally, did I mention it was warm and sunny?! This in itself was enough to put a smile on my face! It stayed that way for at least an hour & a half before we decided to head home for food.

Lambay Island

Now the sky has clouded over again and a slight breeze has picked up, carrying the ever-present reminder that we are not so very far away from the Arctic Circle here, but I know I was lying in hot sunshine on the beach this morning, 'cos I've been watching my arms gradually turn to a deeper shade of lobster for the past hour, and I keep finding sand in odd places...


Underachiever said...

I felt like I was actually there. Of course, I would be the tosser.

Undr(tosser in training)

PS Thanks for the Linkage.

Jax said...

Cool stories T!

LiVEwiRe said...

{Gasp} There's sun in Ireland? And heat? I thought it was all foggy and damp and full of sheep. Ahhh, then again, that may be the current method of deterring American tourists! =) You've disspelled many a myth with this post!

Terri said...

Jax Welcome! And thanks... and hurry up & get a blog going dammit; I need more stuff to look at while I'm at work!

Livewire Mostly it is all foggy and damp and full of sheep, which is why when the sun shines, it's exciting enuf for me to blog about it.

Terri said...

PS UndrThat's one learning curve u really don't wanna be on. Hopefully u live up 2 ur name on that one.
PS... likewise!

chitty said...

A day at the beach in Ireland? I find it hard to visualise, so thanks for the pics.
Your day sounded a lot more pleasant than my last visit to Clifton's 4th beach.
Oh, and good luck with the suntan... a trip to sunny Africa should do the trick.

kyknoord said...

Glad you had a good time. It's difficult for ex-pats to stay sane without their daily dose of UV. I'm not terribly fond of the sun, because it only takes about 3 photons to turn me into a human traffic cone. I suspect that some of my ancestors were vampires.

Terri said...

Chitty: A trip to Africa sounds truly tempting, but I guess I'll just have to make do with the Greek Isles for now (dramatic sigh)

Kyknoord: A human traffic cone that bites... Interesting concept!

Thx 4 the link, b.t.w!

DelBoy said...

A day at the beach... that is brave in Ireland! I'd never try that in the UK; it takes about 3 hours to drive the 70 miles on a sunny day!

No, I haven't had much time to sift through the photos yet. Still trying to catch up on work...

Where to in Greece?