Drought – not a word easily associated with Ireland. It happens, though! This summer, the heat is at times rising over 30 degrees Celsius. Weeks without a raindrop in many areas. The country panics.
It panicked also at the beginning of March but for the opposite reason. Just when springtime was due, a couple of snowflakes blew in and three icicles were reported hanging from a roof in County Galway. Everyday life stopped in Ireland. Shops remained closed, public transportation came to a standstill. In the private sector, only the most daring drivers ventured out on the roads, gripped by fear of skidding on frozen puddles. There are no winter tyres, no snow-clearing vehicles on the supposedly forever Emerald Isle. Ireland in Ice Age is a helpless athlete without ice skates.
Now, four months later, the other extreme happens. Drought. Dryness. Dryer than the Irish sense of humour. More cracks in the ground of dried out fields than craics dealt out in merry rounds. People can keep lubricated on beer, agricultural soil does not drink Lager. The nation is caught in the stranglehold of a hosing ban, and just when daddy has promised to lather the grimy family car! Such bad luck! Dad is lathering his throat with Guinness instead, hanging out in the pub with the boys to follow the Soccer World Cup rounds.
Mammy is consoling herself in the kitchen with ice-cool Chardonnay while concocting organic lemonade for the kids. Through the window she can see the smoke from the gorse fires raging worse than ever. How to fight them them under the regime of the hosing ban? Spraying with the remains of last year’s Prosecco, which has gone off anyway? Might be worth a try.
The Irish Tourist Board is discussing adding a new branch to the fleet of air-conditioned coaches. Caramel caravans would be an option. Camels can do without water for weeks and would thrive on the dry grass which is meanwhile covering all sun exposed areas in town and country.
Unfortunately, dry grass is not good for farmers and farm animals who need fresh green. Also, soon water throughs in the pastures will have to be filled with bottled Tipperary Water, River Rock and other brands, or, even worse, with imports like Evian, when natural wells dry up.
Rumour has it that even the Irish Parliament is brainstorming feverishly behind the scenes. Secretly it hatches out plans to join the Arab Emirates. The sheiks know how to deal with temperature extremes and water shortage. On top, they’re experts on camel breeding. Can’t hurt to have a plan B, apart from the hosepipe ban.
P.S. After everybody had finally adapted to the Mediterranean conditions, and just after I had finished writing the above text, clouds gathered over Ireland. And now it's raining there, hallelujah! Eire has found back to its identity!