Posted by: chiarraigrrl | January 10, 2010

The Big Freeze

Good lord, it’s been cold the last few weeks. And I know, we’ve all discussed the snow and cold until it’s been beaten into the ground (OHMYGODIT’SSNOWINGWE’REALLGONNADIE!, to quote the official appropriate response to the precipitation) but there have been some really lovely things that I noticed which should be noted. First of all, let me say that I think the Irish really shine in an emergency- like during the floods last month, when offers of help came pouring in from all corners of the country and charities received so many donations that they ran out of space for storage before distribution – and people volunteered more space for them, too.

Last Wednesday, as those of us in Dublin know, the buses were shut down at 3pm when the roads were too treacherous for them to continue. Hordes of people had to walk home, and the amount of times I saw people helping each other cross frighteningly icy streets was incredible. I walked from Ranelagh to Templeogue (about 3 miles) on ice (sheets of ice through Rathmines. Really scary) and snow, and it took me about 2 hours to get home. On the way, though, just as I got to Templeogue, a woman pulled over to offer me a lift. Another lovely thing I noticed that I thought was really considerate was that some motorists were using their hazard lights to indicate icy patches to fellow motorists.

There were some wonderful stories over the weekend, too. As the cold got worse, and the snow shockingly continued, tales came out of shopkeepers who were bringing supplies to snowbound members of their communities. The Drimnagh Community Network was going door-to-door offering to help people if they needed paths cleared or supplies brought in (with no charge, of course). At the Gap of Dunloe in Co. Kerry, the town was being kept open by the work of the residents gritting the roads themselves to keep them passable. The IFA offered to grit the roads in Cork (though unfortunately it seems they were turned down by the County Council). The town of Carrickfergus came to our aid when we were about to run out of grit, offering some of their supplies. And everywhere I went, people seemed to be keeping an eye out for each other, warning of slippy bits or jumping to help if someone took a tumble.

Lots of people used it as an excuse to get out with the camera, and of course I was one of many wandering around snapping shots of the snow. Photos are up on my flickr (link to the right). Loads of people were out sledding, too- any hill that was available, and on anything that could reasonably be used as a sled. Shrieks of joy and laughter rang out across Bushy Park, which was mobbed with people yesterday sledding. Wonderful.

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