Irish Weather Talk

The rarer kind of Irish weather

Hey ISI students studying English in Dublin! Let’s talk about the Irish weather!

The rarer kind of Irish weather
The rarer kind of Irish weather

The Irish weather as conversation topic

The weather in Ireland is famously changeable, and discussions of the weather form a disproportionate amount of Irish people’s interactions with each other! It is a topic that never gets tired, like a gift that keeps on giving. A good way to ingratiate oneself, or to ‘go native’, is to strike up a conversation about the weather with a stranger (especially if they are the ones who initiate the chat in the first place!).

In many cases, the object of talking about the weather is to complain about it, which often serves a valuable psychological purpose. If the sun is shining, it is too hot, if the day is rainy, it is too wet, and so on. There are many obscure and select words and phrases that are used by Irish people to describe the weather – the following are just a small selection of them! Picture yourself taking refuge in a pub to get out of the rain, and try boldly commenting about the climate to the barfly who is already present on the stool next to you…

Some ways of talking about the Irish weather

  • Soft – the weather is pleasant and comfortable – this can also be augmented by saying ‘fierce soft’, with ‘fierce’ playing the role ‘very’ conventionally would play
  • Close – the day is hot and stifling, with a stale atmosphere – this can also be augmented by saying ‘fierce close’
  • Mild – the day is not too hot and not too cold, it is neither here nor there, possibly overcast with patches of sunlight
  • Uncertain – the weather is in an indeterminate state, and could go either way, unsure whether to rain or to shine
  • It’s lashing – not to be confused with ‘whipping’, this phrase simply means that the rain is pouring down particularly heavily
  • It’s bucketing – this means that the rain is very heavy, and coming down in sizeable quantities of water (hence, ‘buckets’)
  • It’s raining cats and dogs – this phrase is not necessarily unique to Ireland, but conveys the idea that the rain is heavy
  • It’s absolutely bitter out! – this means the weather is on the chilly side (though it would not feel cold to a Canadian)
  • There’ll be frost tonight! – this is always said whenever the temperature is noticeably lower and the night sky is clearer, irregardless of any actual frost manifesting itself
  • There’s a great stretch in the evenings! – this phrase is appropriate for the summertime, when the days get noticeably longer, culminating on June 21st, when sunset can come as late as 11pm (not as late/early as Scandinavia, however)
The cliched view of Irish weather
The cliched view of Irish weather

…This is only a very small selection – the Irish pride themselves on how eloquently they can describe their country’s weather. So there you go, ISI students! You can supplement your efforts studying English in Dublin by taking time out to discuss the weather with the natives. They’re bound to teach you a few more phrases than those listed here. Have fun!

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