St. Patrick’s Day 2018

The 17th of March this year was a very cold day. It was overcast and dreary. A bitterly cold wind blew. Ireland were playing England in rugby at the same time most parades were taking place, which makes it all the more extraordinary that people turned out at all to watch and cheer on the parades around the country.

The Blarney parade was smaller than previous years, and the crowd was definitely smaller too but they made up for it in sheer enthusiasm and good cheer. I have to salute those of the parade who walked the route dressed in uniforms or costumes. I could not have done it!

Snowpocalypse Day 1

The snow has arrived! The #BeastFromTheEast is upon us! In Blarney snow fell this morning for about 40 minutes and left the ground looking lovely and white when you're inside. It was awful if you had to go out in it though!

-3C in the car this morning
The school run
I carried Diego most of the way to the school, and back. He was happy to get back in the car!
Clearing the windscreen on Carr's Hill. Photo Credit: Ki Bosch.
The Sun is shining

The snow fall didn't last long. Getting back up the hill into my estate was fun, involving high revs in first gear. Thankfully some of my neighbours had put gravel down on the road which helped. The relief as I felt the tyres catch on the rough surface was wonderful.

School is out at 11am though, so the kids get snow and bright pleasant, if cold, weather.

Tomorrow is Storm Emma.

Edit: Victor Barry posted a great photo of Cobh on Twitter.

"The National Emergency Coordination Committee has asked everybody in Munster and Leinster to be indoors by 4pm tomorrow and to stay there until midday on Friday.

Cork Safety Alerts on Facebook

All schools in Munster will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Aaron Woods has great photos of Cobh as well.

Of course people have panicked and shop shelves are empty. Bread is in great demand. Send bread!

Photos of Crosshaven in Co. Cork from Facebook.

Liam Ruiséal’s To Close

I used to work in Liam Ruiséal’s bookstore more than twenty five years ago. I still remember sorting through books upstairs while Everything I Do I Do It For You played every day at 1pm as it sat at the top of the charts in Ireland for nine long weeks. I was so sick of that song.

The late summer, back to school, rush in the nineties was a crazy time to work in a school bookshop. I think I only worked there 2 or 3 years, brought in during the late months of the summer holidays, and worked those months in the store room around the corner. It's the shop across the road from the side entrance of AIB, an auctioneers now.

There were constant deliveries, constant orders being made up, piles of books brought up to the shop on a trolley. I haven't really thought much about it since but I wonder what became of the people who worked there in the early nineties? William Geoghegan pictured here looks very familiar and it appears Bríd was still running the place in 2016!

It's sad to see it close but the last time I bought a school book in there was the mid to late nineties. Unfortunately I never thought of it as somewhere to buy fiction.

One of the country’s oldest independent bookshops, Liam Ruiséal’s in Cork city, is to close later this year after over a century in business. Bríd Hughes, a granddaughter of shop founder, Liam Ruiseál, confirmed this afternoon that the shop will close “within a few months”.

The Aftermath of Hurricane Ophelia

Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland yesterday and while it was a baby compared to the monsters that ravaged the Caribbean and US it still did plenty of damage and left 3 people dead. Many areas were left without electricity or running water for most of the day. A day later and there are still areas without those basic amenities. Telecoms services were disrupted too as lines were cut and exchanges and mobile sites ran out of power. 30,000 people were without access to phone or Internet access. A red alert was declared nation-wide. Schools closed (for 2 days), public transport wasn’t running, shops and businesses didn’t open. There was a definite fear and expectation that this would be a big one. And it was. Gusts of 156kmh were recorded off Roches Point!

We were without power from just after 11am, then the mobile phone network, Eir, went down, except my wife’s phone was able to go online for minutes at a time throughout the day. Winds really picked up around 10am, and lasted until after 2pm with driving rain almost horizontal in the wind. Later in the day I walked around Blarney village and from the far corner of the square got a weak signal from a remote antenna and had just enough connectivity to get a few text messages.

Trees behind our home were knocked down by the wind, blocking most of the main Waterloo Road. Luckily the very tallest trees survived as they’re within reach of some of the houses!

Even this stop sign was twisted around by the wind, and mushrooms flattened too..

Two trees were knocked down in the village square, and someone had attempted to drive a car and caravan up that narrow road before getting stuck and abandoning their vehicle!

Power came back late yesterday evening, as did mobile data, but friends are still without power even now so it’s going to take some time before things are back to normal. Our satellite dish is broken, and it’ll be early November before someone can come out to replace it. Parts of my garden fence blew over too, but that was on it’s last legs anyway! A TV antenna ended up in our front garden, but I have no idea who owned it.

This morning there was a lovely sunrise, and the sky was a gorgeous mix of blue and soft orange. 🙂

Next weekend we can look forward to #StormBrian apparently. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as Ophelia.

Forever McDonalds

Google Photos created an animation from a number of photos I made outside the McDonalds in Douglas last year around this time of the year.

Off travelling again, 2016 edition

The Automattic Grand Meetup starts tomorrow so I’m in Cork Airport waiting for my flight to London.

The weird thing about timezones means I leave here in the morning and get to Vancouver in the morning. And it’s still the same day. That also means I need to stay awake so much longer. 

“Today” is going to be a long day. Zzzz.

Star Wars actors arrive in Cork

Nice. They’re getting off the plane directly into cars.

I was wrong, they had to walk to the main terminal and go through passport control.


And here are their drivers who kindle posed for a photo. The film crew came out a few minutes later.


The Swollen River Martin

A few photos of the River Martin in Blarney, swollen after the rains of Storm Frank yesterday. Not pictured are the broken garden fences I haphazardly repaired in torrential rain last night. At least the rain stopped this morning to let me repair the roof of our shed.

Cold tonight with clear spells and light winds over the northern half of the country with temperatures falling to between 0 and 4 degrees with some icy patches. But further south, cloud and winds will increase with rain developing and pushing northwards through the night (falling as sleet or snow in parts of Ulster towards dawn). Winds will be light variable at first then easterly and increase fresh to strong veering southwesterly in southern counties later in the night. (

Ever wondered how climate change is going to affect Ireland? This post will be of interest to you.

In Ireland the average air temperature has risen by approximately 0.8°C in the last 100 years, with much of the warming occurring towards the end of the 20thcentury, all seasons are warmer. Some of the impacts can already be seen; the start of the growing season for certain species is now up to 10 days earlier, there has been a decrease in the number of days with frost and increase in the number of warm days (days over 20°C).
Over the last 30 years or so rainfall amounts have increased by approximately 5%, and there is some evidence of an increase in the number of days with heavy rain in the west and northwest. Climate projections for rainfall have greater uncertainty than for temperature, they indicate that overall rainfall amounts in Ireland might decrease slightly, summers are likely to become drier while winters may be wetter especially in the west and north. There are also indications of an increase in the number of very wet days (days with rainfall >20mm).

These projections, applied to river flows, show an increased risk of winter flooding, an increased risk of short duration ‘flash’ floods and to possible water shortages in summer months due to higher temperatures and lower rainfall. The rise in sea levels will make low lying coastal areas more prone to flooding, especially from storm surges.

It warns that the changes will happen slowly so we’re not going to notice them year-on-year but it doesn’t look good.