Rory Fellowes

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The Irish Sense Of Community 6

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I love it here. We live on the edge of the Atlantic, with all the marvels and perils of weather that implies. The air is pure, the winds are bracing, the rain is never relentless, though it is also never far away, and when it snows, which it has taken to doing in the last ten years or so, the horizons are wondrous, the march of stark white mountains and soft hilltops off into the distance behind us, while over the ocean the sky hangs like a grey cloak, protecting as well as threatening. Odd, I know, but that’s how it feels.

I don’t know what about climate change, but the jet stream has definitely shifted, they said so on the telly, so I know it must be true. It used to drift north of Ireland in the summer months, drawing the warm southern air up over us so we could usually look forward to a few weeks of pretty temperate weather, sometimes quite dazzling azure skies for days or even weeks on end, but these days the jet stream remains south of us and the best we can hope for is the occasional puff of warm air to slightly improve the temperatures, but usually at the cost of summer rains. And this doesn’t include the thunderstorms that we might otherwise hope to go with the hot weather. They come anyway. When’s this global warming going to kick in for Ireland, that’s what we want to know…

Well, that’s a bit flippant. We know, don’t we, that the real victims of global warming are the people who live in countries that were already hot. For them it means drought upon drought and years go by without rain. People in Ireland know this, and they don’t just know it as an item on the news that is rather moving, don’t you know, terrible to see. The Irish know it in their hearts and they respond as they always have, generously and thoughtfully, to those whom they perceive to be worse off than themselves, no matter how bad things get here.

Ireland, per capita, is in the top three most generous nations in the world when it comes to giving foreign aid, from the public purse and also from individuals, right down to the widow’s mite. It’s the good hearted Catholic belief in charity no doubt, especially among the laiety. And maybe it’s just Irish. That community spirit made worldwide in the global age. My impression is that most Irishmen or women will always give if there is anything to give. That half can of lager that I wrote about in an earlier blog about the Irish sense of community, was split between everyone in the room, and if that meant no more than wetting your lips, well so be it. It’s a party, after all. We’re all in it together.

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