IT is often said that the Inuit people have over a hundred words for snow.
Although this is almost certainly an exaggeration, it holds true that when you encounter a lot of something, it helps to have a number of ways to describe it.
It's also no great secret that it rains a lot in Ireland, even more so on the west coast, which will see anywhere between 1,00 and 1,400mm of rain a year, according to the Met Éireann, the Irish National Meteorological Service.
So it makes sense that the Irish have a variety of ways to describe the various types of precipitation you might encounter...
Fierce weather we’re having
This could mean it’s raining but it could also refer to a day being unusually hot. A bit of an enigma this one. You might need to venture outside and see for yourself just what fierce means.
It’s a grand soft day
This is Ireland’s default weather setting. Heavy clouds and damp air, but not a lot actually happening. Don’t get too excited because conditions like these will only last as long as you remain indoors. Should you venture outside conditions are likely to upgrade to any of the following.
Rain should always be expected. Always. Yet somehow, we will always be caught out by rain, and that is precisely what is meant by bucketing down. Out of nowhere the soft grey clouds have decided to dump buckets of water on us. Who knew that was what they did?
What might be referred to in Britain as a light drizzle. Spitting rain can on occasionally act as a precursor to a surprise bout of bucketing rain. Those from Ireland’s west coast often refer to rain as spitting when any right-minded person would surely file it under bucketing down. Approach with caution and expect the worst.
Isn’t all rain wet you ask? Well yes, but none so wet as wet rain. This will actually get you wetter than more ferocious sounding rainfall. Through some sort of meterological alchemy, what has the appearance of a fine mist is actually impervious to waterproof clothing. This rain will soak through all three layers of skin in seconds, you will be left smelling like a damp wolfhound all day.
You’ve started out on your journey now, perhaps it was only spitting when you left, but now it is most definitely p*ssing down. You won’t turn around or take shelter because you’re stubborn and won’t be beaten by the atmosphere. This is the rain that will bounce back from the pavement and slap you in the face.
This is the more serious sister of bucketing and p*ssing rain. No doubt it will fade to spitting at some point. Until then it is better to stay indoors and avoid any flash flooding, than to walk to the shops.
Why is it raining horizontally? This is any combination of one of the heavier rain types paired with gale force winds. Don’t bother taking an umbrella out in this, you’ll only look an eejit when it is inside out and stuck up a tree. Also what are you doing outside in a hurricane? Back indoors with you.