If you’ve spent any time in Ireland, you may have noticed that we are completely obsessed with the weather. More specifically, we are obsessed with hating the weather. While we have a few favorable phrases to describe weather we don’t mind too much, we have an infinite array of ways to describe how miserable the weather is.
Generally speaking, complaining about the weather is a sort of inclusive social ritual. It’s a way to exchange un-pleasantries with anyone from your work colleagues to the cashier at the shop to the random person sitting next to you on the train. It isn’t too personal or controversial. Basically, as a nation we are united in our near constant dismay with the weather. Sporty North Americans should be warned that cheery phrases such as “there’s no bad weather, only bad gear” or “but it makes everything so green” may be viewed as anti-social and even hostile. To prevent this, stick to the convenient list of popular anti-weather phrases.
Everyone Complains about the Weather…
And here is how to do it Irish style.
- It’s lashing out.
- It’s a dirty day.
- It’s pissing rain.
- It’s bucketing.
- It’s pouring out of the heavens.
Each of these can be strengthened by adding the word “feck” wherever you like. Consider these three equally acceptable options. “Ah feck, it’s lashing rain.” “It’s fecking lashing rain.” “It’s lashing fecking rain.”
You don’t have to wait until the weather is horrendous to complain. Being pessimistic is encouraged.
- It’s only spitting now, but it’s set to get worse.
- It’s a miserable old day.
- The nights are closing in / The days are getting shorter.
- Four seasons in one day.
- It’s not bad now, but have you seen the forecast? (This is a popular retort for anyone ridiculous enough to express approval of weather in any form.)
The Irish are masters of the backhanded remark. “It’s a good day for the fire” sounds optimistic at first, but pay attention. What it really says is that it is so miserable that no one even wants to leave the house.
In the unlikely event of warm weather, and keep in mind what constitutes warm here may seem risible to anyone living south of the Dakotas, you can say the sun is splitting the stones. Note the connection between sunlight and destruction. If the weather is, in fact, quite nice and enjoyable the appropriate thing to say is “Better enjoy this. It won’t last.”
We do not really like weather of any sort here, and the general misery of the wet weather outside is no doubt part of why Ireland has led the world in indoor activities. Pubs are the ideal place to hole up when it is lashing rain. It seems a safe bet that those of Irish descent around the world could list ten Irish writers more easily than they could list ten Irish athletes. Perhaps our literary heritage is the silver lining on the cloudy weather!