Arctic Conditions…

The winters in Ireland are normally wet, like the rest of the year, and windy.  So when it gets a little bit cold, and I mean less than zero, the country is preparing for the next ice age.  It’s hilarious to see your neighbors pouring boiling water on their car windows, instead of just scrapping it off.  I wonder when they’ll realise that boiling water is NOT good for the rubber around the window or the car paint.

One Wednesday in January 2010, snow and hail fell furiosuly for a couple of hours and as a result ALL roads were covered with a few inches of thick ice.  In all fairness, that would paralyze most traffic in any part of the World, for a few hours – but no more than that.

Irish drivers are at best bad drivers, rushing all the time, ignoring basic traffic rules and doing the usual hazardous routines while driving, such as:

  • Using mobile phone when driving (international trend nowadays)
  • Putting on make-up (which I’m finding difficult when driving the scooter and wearing a helmet)
  • No right turn signs = turn right allowed (not actually sure if indicators come as standard in irish cars?)
  • Red light means accelerate faster
  • Bicycles and motorcycles are merely obstacles that has to be overcome

All in all, it is a bit like the famous PC game Carmageddon.  Throw in a bit of hazardous driving condition, and the game is on.

When snow does hit Ireland, it is like arctic conditions.  Plumbing in houses freeze, water reservoirs run out of water and the city councils haven’t ordered sand or salt since 1981 when they were hit with the big freeze like most of Northern Europe.  As a result, the roads are not gritted, leaving the ice to get tougher and more slippery.
– I was horrified to discover why the reservoirs where empty.  Residents had been advised to keep their taps running, to prevent the pipes from freezing up!!!!

As I’m from Denmark, where you do get snow, I have some experience in driving in these conditions (by no means an expert), but driving a scooter on 3 inches of ice is NOT recommended.  It basically took me 2 hours to get home that afternoon.  And, I now know what trench feet are.  My feet were frozen solid for a few hours, but other than that I made it home.

The airport was closed for 24 hours, and even then, the amount of flights leaving was reduced drastically.  Not even sure the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has defrost for the planes, hence they are stuck at the terminals.  Most airports in the Northern hemisphere have defrosting machines, so the planes can leave.

The most “amusing” thing is that Ireland only seem to have a handful of gritting machines and snow plows, so the secondary roads were left alone.  For those people who knows Dublin, that means that the only main road cleared was the M50.

The day after the “heavy” snowfall, I decided to take the car to work.  I barely made it out of the estate, before I the so-called SUV was sliding all over the road.  We should probably have changed the tires 2 years ago, so there was no grip.  At the first traffic light, I was basically stuck – wheels spinning, but going nowhere.  Just as I was getting a grip, a giant 18-wheeler truck came sliding by (in front), almost jackknifed, and that’s when I decided to go back home.

A bit of snow and the fecking country was paralyzed.  It was pretty annoying having to call work that morning, telling them I couldn’t get out of the estate.  To make things worse, in order to get into work Friday, I had to treck for almost 3 kilometres, across th frozen tundra, stranded cars and white landscapes.

I almost peed my pants laughing, when I saw the news headlines “Arctic Conditions in Ireland”.  Have these people not heard of countries where snow is a regular occurence and where winters are pitch black, only lit up by the white snow.  Some parts of Russia have -50 degrees, but the roads are still cleared.

I’m just waiting for when we get a real winter and all pipes in house freezeor burst, then they’ll realise that they have built and insulated hourses wrong.  Who in their right mind would recommend having water pipes on the outside of the houses?


  1. […] To be honest, we were both very impressed with the facilities across England.  All the stops had kid friendly activities and restaurants, and most of them were next to a field, which was ideal for the dogs.  At one of these stops, I went to the local field to let the dogs run.  They did their business and I let them back into the boot.  Suddenly, while getting into the car myself, I noticed a very strong smell of pooh.  Not human or dog pooh, but manure.  I checked my shoes and I was horrified to discover that the farmer had covered his field with manure. Now the car was being filled with a strong mist of cow/pig pooh.  The problem is that there was nothing we could do about it except driving with the windows rolled down for a few hundred miles. At the next stop we (I) cleaned the dogs and the car.  That also gave the rest of the family a chance to defrost, since it was in the middle of winter and we had been driving with windows rolled down in Arctic conditions. […]

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