As I swam back towards the pier with the wind whipping sea water into my face, and drops of rain forcing my eyes to shut, it dawned on me: this is my new summer normal. If I am to be living in Ireland in the summer, this is what it looks and feels like, cloudy, wet, and chilly.
I realize I’ve written many times in the past few months about the amazing summer we were having here, but those days/weeks are the exception. I have to accept that summers in Ireland are generally not hot and sunny. Summers in Ireland require a lot more fortitude to get to the beach, let alone get in the water.
This past weekend we slipped off to Kinvara, in Co. Galway. The Cruinniú na mBád was on, so the town was in full festival mode. The Cruinniú is an annual boat festival (the translation is roughly: “the gathering of the boats”). Galway Hookers, beautiful old wooden boats with the red sails, sail into the bay and race over the weekend.
Most of our time was spent enjoying the company of good friends in various pubs around town. Each pub had a session (live music) going on, and each one was overflowing onto the street. It is a big party, and the whole town is invited. Even in this little Irish village there was plenty of Americana to make me feel quite at home (if I needed to. Which I didn’t). Obviously I am not the first American to drink in these pubs.
The next morning we went for a swim. It’s summer, so of course you swim in the sea! It took all my will power to take off my clothes, let alone jump in the water. Mist was falling and a strong north-westerly wind was blowing. Herd mentality kicked in, though, and I didn’t want to be the only person not leaping off the pier. Once the initial shock of the cold water was over, it actually felt good.
Swimming in the bay is such fun. The water is a gorgeous green color and the coastline is stunning. It’s not a relaxing summer swim. Because of the wind and the rain, we had to swim on our backs most of the way back to the pier.
The Irish are hearty. The mist and wind wasn’t going to keep them from a swim. It’s summer after all. I am glad I raised my heartiness factor not to miss out on this particular adventure. I am going to have to keep building it up until this kind of summer really is my new normal.