As some of our favourite peo­ple share their mem­o­ries of Ir­ish sum­mers (see Page 10), Pat Fitz­patrick has a look back at the stand­outs of Ir­ish sum­mers past

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - FIRST PERSON / TOP FIVE -


Bloody young peo­ple in their wet­suits. They’ll never know the trauma of that first At­lantic swim ev­ery year. It was like a hor­ror movie. The Shriek­ing — We Know What You Did Ev­ery Sum­mer. No won­der the older gen­er­a­tions weren’t more sex­u­ally ac­tive. It’s hard to plan any­thing when you’re not ac­tu­ally sure if you still have any gen­i­tals. Or legs. Some said it was grand once you got in. They all went on to be­come se­nior fig­ures in the Ir­ish bank­ing sys­tem. #Not­greatwith­thetruth


Ire­land. 1978. Why would you bother putting olive oil in your food? Such a waste when you could use it to grow blis­ters on your shoul­der that were vis­i­ble from space. (You missed a bit.) This lasted un­til Gay Byrne an­nounced that sun­burn was bad for you. (He was our in­ter­net.) This started a craze for some­thing called sun­tan lo­tion. Us­ing Am­bre So­laire was a clear sign that you were an in­tel­lec­tual. (Oh my God, he speaks per­fect French. Ooh-la-la.)


Here is the prob­lem with those new hip­ster cheeses, hand-made with pas­sion in small batches. They don’t come in tri­an­gles with a pic­ture of a lit­tle blonde girl on the front. And they are not in­clined to bounce when you throw them against the wall. It wasn’t a picnic in old Ire­land if some­one didn’t hand you some Calvita with a bit of sand on it. And say, “Share that with your two brothers and four cousins.” We were so poor.


Some say that ho­moeopa­thy is a rel­a­tively new thing in Ire­land. We say they ob­vi­ously never saw the tiny amount of MiWadi that went into a 1980s or­ange cor­dial. Or di­luted wa­ter, as it was known at the time. Back then, fizz meant you had money. In fact, you were ac­tu­ally con­sid­ered one of the Rock­e­fellers if you opened a large bot­tle of 7-Up. This worked for ev­ery fizz, bar one. So­daStream. That was a sign your par­ents didn’t re­ally love you.


Here is the thing about the scorch­ing sum­mer of 1976. It was 40 years ago and we’re still talk­ing about it. That’s 40 years of play­ing Fish In The Pond in a car­a­van for 14 days in a row, and talk that it might clear on Tues­day. It never did. There was only thing for it. A spin. You’d be brought off on a ran­dom drive, look­ing for a lo­cal who would al­low you to be pho­tographed on his don­key for a fiver. In the rain. Je­sus.

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