There’s nothing quite like it is there? Especially not in the eyes of the Irish páiste.
After being filled with promises of two months of freedom, sunshine ag spalpadh na gcloch and visions of 99s for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s no wonder we come tearing out of those Primary School gates like the hounds of hell.
Unfortunately however, the hopes of sunshine tend to disappear fairly lively after the unmerciful shower that left you drowned to the bone after the walk home…
And as for the dreams of 99s, after enough fruitless geallúintí of “After your dinner!!!”, we’re forced to wave goodbye to those too.
The freedom however, is one beauty that we do get to hold on to, and make use of in only the most Irish of ways; starting with…
The Road Trip.
Our tuismitheoirí are no fools – they know a recipe for disaster when they see one. (Something similar to two long months at home with too many children and too much time to kill).
So into the car we go! On an “adventure” – we’re told.
Thus begins the excitement. The violent choruses of “ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET?“, “I NEED TO PEEEEEEE” and the worst of the worst…
“Maaaammmy…I don’t feel well…”.
It’s all good fun really, and a few hours peace can normally be bought with a game or two of Eye-Spy, 20 Questions or if you have particularly ingenious parents – a chant of “Silence in the courtroom, silence in the street, the biggest fool in Ireland is just about to speak…”
The Road Trip as a key element of the Irish Summer mind you, is nothing but a stepping stone to an even bigger part of the holidays…
An Trá, of course!
Ag tosnú with Mammy frantically racing around the kitchen; making enough ham and cheese sandwiches to feed a small army and dictating the list of things not to forget:
“Togs…suncream…and the raincoats! – Just in case.”
Then it’s sandals on (with the stylish addition of woolly socks in Dad’s case) and ar aghaigh leat!
Always a great day out – the beach never lets us down. Sandcastles, body-surfing and a few pucks are standard classics, and fatal calamities such as jellyfish stings or some rogue child stealing your ball are generally kept to a minimum.
Yes, we páistí love the beach. Even if we do wail about having sand in our shoes all the way home.
But of course, it wouldn’t be a true Summer anseo in Éirinn without the inevitable and insufferable…
The Rainy Day.
Luckily, about a million years of a miserable climate has prepared us for this particular dampener so that we can prepare for the unavoidable downpours.
Jigsaws, board-games, packs of cards, paint-by-numbers…you name it, we’ve got it.
And that’s not even getting started on Blind Man’s Bluff or Hide-and-Seek.
Ach, in spite of all our efforts and years of practise, there’s no hiding from the hard truth…
“Ní hea lá na báistí lá na páistí”
I.e. No matter how hard you try, cabin fever will eventually take over and the rainy day will end in tears, tantrums, and more often than not – a lifelong ban on Monopoly.
But not to fear, the tears will eventually cease and someone will finally have the sense to play the “It’s time for bed” card and ship you away with a fluffy blanket, some hot chocolate to ease the pain and a promise that the sun would come out again the following day…
And to be fair, sometimes it did.
You can’t ask for much more than that now can you?