IN THE SUMMERTIME
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
1 THE WATER
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
2 THE TAN
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.)
3 THE PICNIC
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.
4 THE DRINK
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.
5 THE WEATHER
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.