Staples of an Irish storm

Ireland isn't always well equipped to deal with heavy snow...
Ireland isn't always well equipped to deal with heavy snow...

After a somewhat blustery January and balmy February you’d be forgiven for thinking that Ireland had escaped snow for the winter/spring of 2018/19. However on Sunday Storm Freya (yes it had a name) had other ideas and unceremoniously dumped her contents on much of the country and people lost their sh!t.
As humans, we are creatures of habit so in times of perceived crisis the same patterns can be seen repeating themselves. So here we examine a few of these habits in further detail.


1. Everything is broken…
In Ireland we are extremely well equipped for dealing with mild, inoffensive weather. That means anything with a temperature ranging from 6-18 degrees, light to moderate wind and a reasonable amount of rain. However once it falls outside these ranges things tend to grind to a halt.
We saw it with Storm Ophelia, Storm Emma and even during the drought of 2018. Things just stop working as they should.



It doesn’t seem to happen in any other European/ Western country, where they simply just get on with things. I recently heard a Polish national say that “if you Irish ever have a proper storm you’ll probably starve to death”. I find it hard to argue with him.
In fact life doesn’t just stop, it spirals into unadulterated, barbaric chaos as was seen in “Lidlgate” in Fortunestown last year, where a Lidl store was looted and literally bulldozed.


2. Beer and bread renaissance

For your average millennial/ fitness the humble sandwich and bottle of beer have been replaced by the trendier’/healthier alternatives of gin and sweet potato. However once the #sneachta hits these fickle friends are soon forgotten and we resort to type.
The two staples of an Irish snow  diet are beer and bread. Drink and dough. Whatever you want to call them, once things turn wintery they are hard to keep on the shelf. In fact in a 2018 interview with the Meath Chronicle Jim Bird, owner of a number of Centra, Super Valu and Daybreak stores in Meath had to limit bread sales to one loaf per customer and remarked

“We’ve easily sold at least 3,000 sliced pans in the last two days. We’ve actually sold one week’s supply of bread in less than two days – that’s the height of the panic.  But I think people are now half expecting the rationing…. We’ve also sold a lot of bottles of whiskey, coffee and cream so I’m sure you can guess what people are putting together.”

Pubs also thrive during snowy conditions as people who refuse to go to work due to dangerous driving conditions will walk four miles in a blizzard for a packet of bacon fries and a pint of Smithwicks.

Milk it
Apart from stock up on (non) essentials in snow, the first thing most people do is check to see if school/ work/ jury duty is cancelled. Upon the first hint of a blizzard websites for local radio stations/newspapers  crash as kids/ teachers/ teenagers desperately clamber to see if they have gotten a guilt free pass to take the day off.



 Fixture frustration

There is no such thing as a victimless storm. In this case the casualties in question were a spate of GAA fixtures around the country which were postponed due to the snow, a regular occurrence this time of the year. This abrupt cancellation of fixtures put undue pressure on many a marriage as men who had planned to spend their Sunday afternoon attending hurling games across the country were forced to abandon these plans and revert to spending the day watching premier league action at home.



This last minute change of plan put an unexpected strain on many a marriage as women who had planned to watch the Coronation Street/ Eastenders Omnibus had fight for control of the couch from their husbands/ boyfriends/ partners who unceremoniously and unforgivingly arrived home without their sporting fix. At least three divorces, four break up and a “I’m staying in my mothers tonight” are said to have occurred in Galway alone.

So even as we get into March and our first instalment of #sneachta recedes, be warned it can return again at a moment’s notice, dragging the country into chaos with it.