God, The Sun!

Toasted Heretic Point Out The Profound Lack of Iberian Influence

At a Spanish café near the Spanish Arch, eating… scrambled eggs. I could have had an omelette but things were already getting out of hand. A tourist had come up to me and asked directions to Galway’s ‘Iberian style’ cathedral. He did mean the modern 60s one, I checked. His guidebook must be Europe On Drugs, I’m not seeing aything remotely Iberian about it. Frankly I don’t think it’s in any consistent taste whatever, except Questionable Irish-American. No seriously, the thing has what to every appearance is a shrine to John F. Kennedy.

Today though is for worshipping that most primal of gods, the sun. The best kept secret about the Irish climate is that it is frequently much better in April than it is in August. At this time of year it either rains or it’s hot. Of course, it can rain a lot… Last Monday we had cloudbursts – of hail, even. Including one right in the middle of my mother’s driving test, which didn’t help.

But this is infinitely preferable in my book to the overcast that can last throughout the ‘summer’ proper. It’s to be expected I suppose in a country that sits in a bowl of Atlantic. The summer sun on that water drives off so much vapour that it blocks the heat and light from us. So infuriating to be cold in mid-July, knowing that just beyond the great grey shell there’s a solar furnace at maximum. Nature can be a curse.

I call it a secret, but someone seems to have been blabbing. It’s thick with tourists around here already. Cúirt is on of course, but you don’t expect literary festivals to bring the horde down on you. Maybe there are more domestic holidaymakers than usual, what with The Economy.

Certainly seemed to be a lot of people out clubbing last night. Even though I picked the quietest route back from Salthill I still had to walk around two broken Bucky bottles. Buckfast tonic wine – the party drink made by monks. Maybe people drink it for the irony. Or possibly the sulphury. Must be something like that anyway; it tastes bloody awful.

Irony, and caffeine. The Bucky in a brown bottle, which for some reason is unique to Ireland, actually contains more caffeine by volume than Red Bull. And remember people dilute Red Bull, by adding vodka to it. So that’s why you see broken bottles everywhere. It’s not the 15% alcohol content that makes people clumsy. It’s the caffeine shakes.

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