A glance at the calendar might tell you that summer has arrived – but really, you don’t need a calendar to know that much. Peeking outside the window, listening out for tell-tale noises, or even sniffing the air is enough to confirm it; the sights, sounds and smells all point towards the changing of the seasons.
Because when it comes to the warmest, brightest, most eagerly-anticipated months of the year – well, the Irish tend to have time-honoured, faithfully observed habits that you could set your watch by. Some are proud traditions that we rightly celebrate; others are quirky customs that have somehow worked their way into the routine; and some, you might find yourself cringing at – especially when you know you can’t deny it happens!
And so, without further ado, here’s a guide to knowing when summer in Ireland has hit, along with some tips to make sure you’re prepared…
1. The casualties of wardrobe
Sun-soaked and sweltering are not the typical conditions on our Emerald Isle – which means that when the geansaís and gloves are put away for a few months, things can get a little ropey. Decades-old t-shirts, ill-fitting board shorts and battered GAA togs, and more gear that’s rightly consigned to the back of the wardrobe for the other nine months of the year suddenly takes over the streets.
Of course, the pendulum swings once darkness falls, and plenty of folk who’ve banked on sky-high temperatures through the night are left scrambling for jumpers and hoodies. It’s all the convincing you could possibly need to plan ahead and get your summer-friendly options in order; your style points needn’t drop every time the mercury rises!
2. Game on
Even if you attempt to escape to the sanctuary of indoors, you’ll likely be confronted with wall-to-wall coverage of the All-Ireland, as the annual pursuits of Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy capture the public imagination. The best bet is to lean into it, and be ready to raise a toast to the victors at the end!
From touch rugby on the beach to soccer in the streets, and even the eyebrow-raising spectacle of smashing a sliotar across a busy green; while we’re a sports-mad nation all year round, it really comes to a head during the summer. With golf courses crammed and parks packed, you’d need to make a special effort to completely avoid a sporting adventure of some description.
3. All about al fresco
Picnics in the park? Sign us up! Dinner on the deck? Sounds great! Barbecue for breakfast? OK, so that one might be pushing it…although it’s probably only a matter of time before someone manages to figure out how to grill Corn Flakes! Embracing the outdoor life doesn’t stop come mealtimes, and we’ve collectively become an al fresco nation whenever the weather allows.
From chopping boards to cheese picks it’s time to get your foodie kit on point, because summer means get-togethers and garden gatherings unlike any other time of year. And, if you’re not stocked up on the makings of a decent picnic basket, then you’d best act fast; the draw of dining outdoors is about to hit its peak!
4. The best things in life are tea
Getting the kettle on early and often is key to making it through a sizzling summer’s day – and the fact that you’ve an excuse to scoff down a few biscuits with each brew is a welcome bonus!
There’s something slightly strange about a boiling hot beverage proving the best solution on a scorching day – but it turns out a nation of grannies steered us in the right direction. Somehow, there is absolutely nothing quite as refreshing as a perfectly made cuppa, and there’s no better time to test the theory than when the sun is splitting the stones.
5. Save your skin
Lathering on the Factor 50, scrambling for the safety of the shade, and never leaving the house without a trusty baseball cap to hand – there’s a whole lot that goes into surviving in the sun, and a nation that’s not entirely used to exotic conditions needs to take the threat of sunburn more seriously than most!
As discussed above at #1, it’s probably best that your go-to protection from the rays isn’t the same cap you’ve worn since Italia 90, so if your summer accessories are from a different era then it’s time to get your head in the game!
6. How green is your garden?
Some of us are definitely guilty of allowing our gardens to go a little unloved during autumn and winter – but as spring gives way to summer, all of that changes. The hum of lawn mowers and hedge trimmers is probably audible from outer space, with the smell of fresh-cut grass wafting across oceans, as everybody in Ireland decides to channel their inner Diarmuid Gavin and set about transforming their outdoor space into a veritable oasis.
It makes a lot of sense, of course; a nation that’s indelibly linked with all things green is probably bound to take our gardens seriously – and we rarely fail to live up to those expectations!
7. Sleeping under the stars
Pitching a tent and spending an evening in the elements used to be the reserve of rugged outdoorsmen and over-eager children – but no more. Maybe it’s the ubiquity of music festivals, an overdue appreciation for our incredible nature, or the draw of escaping the all-consuming buzz of the modern city; whatever it is, we’re a nation of campers now.
That means we’ve developed a serious fondness for a warm, durable blanket or a handy travel mug – because even when you’re headed to the wilds of the outdoors, you still need something to make you feel at home!
8. The jet set
If the queues outside the airport weren’t enough to remind you, then a quick headcount in your office probably will; for many, the beginning of summer marks the starting point of a season of travel. For some, that means staycations and sampling the best our little land has to offer, but for others it’s an invitation to spread their wings and set off for far-flung corners of the globe.
Whichever the case it’ll come with its own shopping list, from climate-appropriate clothing and gifts to give the friends you meet along the way to travel pillows, toiletry cases, and everything else besides…
So…are you summer ready?
Whether your summer is filled with camping trips, garden parties or long evenings of outdoor fun and games, you’ll find the perfect gift for every occasion at Carrolls Irish Gifts. From clothing and accessories to food and drink, and rugby balls to picnic blankets, our carefully selected range represents the very finest that Ireland has to offer – and makes Carrolls the ideal destination when it comes to making sure you’re summer ready.
What’s more, our worldwide shipping means that even if you’re gifting from a distance, you can be sure to send the very best of the summer to those you love most. Visit carrollsirishgifts.com to see our range – and however you’re marking it, make it a summer to remember.