Thursday, February 5, 2009

Waterford's Wintry Weather

We often say that in Ireland we have four seasons - thing is they can sometimes all arrive on the same day! This time of year is probably the most changeable and while we are officially in Spring - St. Brigid's Day on February 1st marking the traditional start of the Irish "spring" - we have had floods and snow in the past week.

These photos show the garden and our house in the snow - a rare sight!

I thought I would share some photos of my locality with you, which show the extremes of the weather patterns in this country and how we are totally obsessed with weather. We don't get proper winters; snow that actually lasts and that you could do something with, like skiing or tobogganing; and we don't get it cold enough to skate, like they do in Holland (where my husband comes from) with their tradition of the Elfstedentocht, or the 11 towns race, where skaters follow a cross-country course over canals and lakes, in Friesland in the north. It only happens sporadically when there is a really hard freeze, but at least it happens.

This shows the same view of Lismore Castle in flood and snow!

Here in Ireland the country shuts down when there is a snowfall for a day or so, the roads can't handle the traffic, and in Britain it is the same. Right now there are news headlines that Britain is running out of road grit for de-icing the roads, and it is causing chaos. What would we do if there was weather like in the movie Fargo, which I loved, where everything is engulfed in a white blizzard wilderness.

A mountain stream in flood

I went to Dublin last weekend for a meeting, and it was raining torrentially for the duration of the trip which is 130 miles or so, taking about 3 hours on our average roads. We don't have motorway all the way - Ireland is only just catching up on the rest of Europe where our road network is concerned - and a large part of the journey is on poor roads through towns and villages. The first 20 miles is across the Knockmealdown mountains (for those of you with Google Earth interest!) and it was pretty dodgy with so much flash flooding and runoff. The mountain streams turned into raging torrents and looked impressively dangerous.

I made it there and back safe and sound, and took some photos of our lovely castle and the River Blackwater in flood, with the flooded inches (the floodplain of the river) which always look spectacular, and on Monday awoke to snow! I took some photos as it is such a rare event it is worth recording.

So I hope you enjoy these snapshots of moments in an Irish winter. I promise you the summer views are even more beautiful, when everyplace is in full bloom - and I'll be back!

The photos show Lismore Castle and Inches in flood, which then froze over when it snowed a few days later.


Rachel Cotterill said...

Those are some great views. Hope you're enjoying the snow.

Jeannette StG said...

Hello Catherine,
When I saw your last name, I thought, isn't that Dutch? and reading your story confirmed you hubby's background. By the way, my hubby Jacob is from Friesland. We have lived in Los Angeles for more than 20 years now- the original reason was for me to study psychology here, which I did. (We travelled a lot too , but not in developing countries). Now, 2 of our 3 kids have married Americns, and then the grandkids came, so maybe we'll stay here.
Nice to see ireland via your pics - don't worry, i'm not too informed about blogging either. My kids help me a lot! Glad I found you.
cheers, jeannette stgermain
Visit my blog sometime.
PS. My URL is

Catherine said...

Thanks for the comments!
RACHEL, we are having a snowfall right now but it may not stick so it could just lead to hazardous driving on the way to work!
JEANETTE - nice to meet you - I visited your blog and became a follower, will look at it in more detail when I come home from work, I am knitting at present and see you have some bags up! Nice Dutch connection. Please follow my blog if you like, talk to you again!

Jeannette StG said...

Hello Catherine,
Yes, I already am following your blog. Thank you for adding yourself to mine. What are you knitting right now?
Are your kids living in Ireland too?
I miss castles sometimes, here and other historic things - we have Hearst castle in California (probably about 6-7 hours away), but the ones in Europe are much, much older!talk2yasoon, jeannette

Peggy said...

Hi Catherine, I always think Lismore castle looks stunning when I pass, and always say someday I should stop and visit but have never done, so far.We have had so much rain and you are in the vicinity of the mountains so getting much more rain and water logging than we are.Great photos as well!

Catherine said...

Hi Peggy, glad you liked the photos - the castle is stunning and I kinda take it for granted as I live here and see it daily! Sadly not open to the public except the lovely gardens - except on the fundraising Devondshire Day in March for the IMMRAMA Festival (see Then you can have Cream Tea in the Ballroom and get a guided tour of the gardens with the head gardener. Lovely for anyone interested in gardening and it is always well attended. A good day out if you like to do it! The castle is a super deluxe B&B if you can afford the €30,000 a week to stay full board for a party of 12! amazing that it still gets bookings in these recessionary times.
So keep in touch!

Catherine said...

Hi Jeanette, I saw after I posted this morning that you already had followed the blog. Thanks! Three of our kids live in Ireland, see our Christmas letter for the details! (my first blog post!) and one lives in Spain with his Dutch girlfriend, the eldest. Youngest 3 are in Ireland, one in secondary school, one in college (university) and one jobhunting after graduating. My hubby Jan is from Zeeland so the other end of the country from your hubby. Are you American?
I am knitting a furry woolly cap right now for the awful cold (by our standards!) weather, and have put a bolero/cardigan on hold for the hat. Bolero is wrecking my head with a repeat pattern - one mistake and I have to go back to the start. I have done aran sweaters in the past so it isn't that I can't do complex patterns but this is unforgiving!
Lovely to talk to you and will revisit your blog again.