Tuesday 25 October 2016

Sunshine, Freaky Foot and an app for cows - sure, it's a great little country

Ireland resembled the set of a sci-fi movie this week when a gigantic golden UFO appeared in the sky.

I saw it myself, hanging overhead like a … like a… great big fried egg. (I borrowed this description from Brid Ni Lu's school essay).

What's rare is wonderful. But the outbreak of national hysteria that followed the appearance of the sun surely warrants the setting up of another tribunal of inquiry.

The sight of hordes of people, not all of them children, shivering pitifully on beaches after a dip has been a bit too close to scenes from a zombie flick for comfort. That and the parade of the Lobster People that stalked our streets, as city dwellers flaunted their latest acquisition - an iridescent farmer's tan.

Visitors from overseas, still wrapped in their padded jackets, looked on bewildered as half-naked Irish men and women flung themselves on every available inch of damp grass in public parks. Already overstretched medical services will have a rash of new complaints to deal with this week. From a cold in the kidneys to pismire bites.

The temperatures were only in the mid-to-high teens. Winter conditions for many of the tourists. No wonder they looked puzzled.

This shiny unexpected celestial event also caused cases of communal sunstroke. How else can we explain what the authorities described as a "scuffle" on the DART from Howth as a large group of youths, clutching their tinnies, caused disruption to commuter services?

Had they not heard the expression, "Cast not a clout, 'til May is out"?

Once the sun comes out everyone wants to be supping pints in the open air. Not only is it unnatural, it creates hassle for pedestrians who already have to navigate through crowds of smokers. That sort of beery street activity should be confined to the Fleadh Cheoil and Puck Fair. That is, if Killorglin is still on the map.

Our friend Con Houlihan once described the plight of Dublin goalkeeper Paddy Cullen, as the ball sailed over his head and into the net, in colourful terms. "Paddy dashed back towards his goal like a woman who smells a cake burning," he wrote.

If such a scenario were to be played out again we might say, "like a Kerry person who smells their county burning".


Because, dazzled by the sun's rays, locals set fire to Kerry this week. As the Kingdom went up in flames, every fire brigade in the county was called into action.

While there are some Dubs who'd be happy to see the back of the county that persists in winning All Ireland football finals, Kerry has its uses. Without the annual Rose of Tralee festival there'd be no reason for the Garda Band. And, besides, think of the hundreds of tourist buses that'd block up Nassau Street if there wasn't Kate Kearney's Cottage to attract the overflow.

An even more alarming aspect of the recent "heatwave", has been an ice-cream shortage in parts of the city.

I take grave exception to HB taunting me with news of the return of Freaky Foot this summer at a time when I struggled to get my hands on a Cornetto or an Iceberger.

Confronted by near empty fridges everywhere, I had to settle for what I suspect was a bootleg ice-cream, something perhaps concocted in a shed in South Armagh and sold on like dodgy diesel or suspicious vodka by some dubious paramilitary outfit. Anyway, it tasted like frozen sawdust or bone chippings.

The welcome news that Freaky Foot will soon be back is further evidence of Irish creativity and marketing nous.

In a week when we were recalling the glory days of such classics as the Chilly Willy, Tangle Twister and Loop the Loop, I noticed that an Irish company received a prestigious international award for developing a new App that enables cows to text the farmer when they're ready to calve. MooCall is an SMS alert sensor that monitors the animal and signals the farmer. Class.

If I had a euro for every time during the week I heard someone say, "Sure, this is a great little country. If we were guaranteed a bit of sun no one would want to holiday abroad", I'd be able to book a week in Ibiza.

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