Fairy Thorns

Here at Tory Bush we are considering making the biggest hanging basket in County Down, really it is making use of some steel work we inherited, I will photograph the project as it goes on and post a blog later when all the flowers in bloom, if they do bloom that is, Jim and I are not exactly what may be called green fingered, lets say thank goodness for the recent wet summers we have had.
Jim is the handy man here at Tory Bush and from all those that have stayed the consensus is that he does a fantastic job. Talking about wet summers, about three years ago we decided to put window boxes on all the cottages and houses on site and at the time we made a device to attach to a hose pipe to enable us to water the boxes on the first floor windows, but would you believe it given the nature of the last few summers we have not had to use it once. Some may be thinking for a business trying to sell holidays in Northern Ireland talking about wet summers is not doing a good job, but I don’t believe anyone books a holiday in Northern Ireland on the basis of guaranteed sunshine, I believe our mild moist climate gives us other attributes in terms of vegetation, or peat covered mountains and of course the moniker the ‘Emerald Isle’, I also think it reflects in our personalities, the easy going nature of the people.
Johnny Cash had a song called The Forty Shades of Green , and believe me there is forty shades and many more. The song was a tour through Ireland from well known place to another but making no geographical sense.
I close my eyes and picture the emerald of the sea from the fishin boats at Dingle to the shores at Donaghadee I miss the River Shannon and the folks at Skibbereen the moorlands and meadows and their Forty Shades of Green
But most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town and most of all I miss her lips as soft as eiderdown I long again to see and do the things we´ve done and seen where the breeze is sweet as shalimar and there´s Forty Shades of Green
I wish that I could spend an hour at Dublin´s churning suft I long to watch the farmers drain the bogs and spade the turf to see again the thatching of the straw the women clean I´d walk from Cork to Larne to see those Forty Shades of Green
But most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town and most of all I miss her lips as soft as eiderdown I long again to see and do the things we´ve done and seen where the breeze is sweet as shalimar and there´s Forty Shades of Green

However back on track, we were walking through the grounds at Tory Bush trying to find a place to locate the biggest hanging basket in Ireland ! !, yes I am making that claim now, and we came upon the Fairy Thorn that is located at Tory Bush and I thought that I had never blogged about the tree so here goes. From old maps there was a fence, wall or hedge down through the field in front of the cottages, we have replaced that boundary albeit a few metres further out into the next field, but when ever the original boundary was removed there was a thorn tree at the start of the boundary and it was never taken away with the rest of the wall or hedge or what ever was there.  There is a big superstition about Fairy trees here in Ireland and people won’t cut them or indeed dig them up. When I began this blog I ‘googled’ Fairy Thorn just to get some background and the following link is the first I came across  http://ghosterelle.blogspot.com/2006/03/fairy-thorns-interview-wbarry.html and believe it or not I remember very well the incident mentioned in the second paragraph where an electricity sub-station had to be relocated because of the accidents surrounding the removal of the Fairy Thorn.

The local story was that after the first person broke their leg trying to remove the tree and after the remainder of the workmen refused to work on the boss said ‘poppy-cock’ or words to that affect, ‘I will do it, let me in that digger’ and as he hurriedly climbed the steps of the excavator in his muddy wellingtons he slipped and broke his leg. I don’t know if as many as four people broke their legs but there was at least two.
What my little bit of research did show is that the belief is more prevalent in Northern ireland as the following online definition shows.
fair·y thorn (plural fair·y thorns)
Northern Ireland hawthorn bush: a hawthorn bush left growing in the middle of a field through fear that misfortune would befall whoever chopped it down

Mourne Mountains, a great description. As promised, here is that description of the Mournes, if you can forgive the initial spelling mistake.


The Mountains of Mourne are hands-down the most spectacular mountains in Ireland. The mountain range is located in Northern Ireland in County Down, specifically in South Down. The best way to reach the Mourne Mountains is to head down to the seaside resort of Newcastle. This exquisitely-located, bustling little town serves as a great home base for mountain expeditions. The Mournes are the most frequently visited and hiked mountains in Ireland.

The land on the south side of the mountains is known as the Kingdom of Mourne. Due to its isolated location, the kingdom developed a distinct culture and society. The region’s main industries were farming, fishing, and granite. The Mournes are some of the best granite mountains in Ireland, and granite quarries were a huge part of the Kingdom of Mourne economy. Mourne granite can be found throughout Ireland and England, including Belfast, Liverpool, London, and Manchester.

The rugged, granite peaks of the Mourne Mountains add a majestic element to the surrounding golden beaches, deep forests, and emerald fields. The beauty of the mountains was immortalized in one of WIlilam Percy French’s songs. French, an Irish songwriter, wrote the song with a chorus of “Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.” The Mourne Mountains of Ireland have actually been internationally recognized as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The mountains boast better hiking, rock-climbing, and walking than found at any of the other Northern Ireland Mountains. Some well-known mountains include Slieve Donard, Slieve Lamagan, and Slieve Muck. Slieve is from the Irish word ‘sliabh,’ meaning mountain. Besides visits to these majestic Ireland mountains, tourists can trek up to the Mourne Wall, a man-made, dry-stone wall built between 1904 and 1922. The reason for its construction was to provide work during a period of high unemployment. The wall is 2 m high, a meter thick, and over 35 km long, and it lies across the summits of 15 of the surrounding peaks.

In the center of the Mourne Mountains of Ireland, weary travelers can rest at the stunning Silent Valley Reservoir. Formed by the damming of the Kilkeel River so as to provide Belfast with water, the Reservoir has scenic walks, a pleasant coffee shop, and a shuttle bus service that can take people up the valley to the Crom Dam.

During at trip to this region, visitors can also enjoy cycling, golf, horseback riding, fishing, and helicopter rides. Several parks and natural attractions are located near the Mountains of Mourne. The Castlewellan Forest Park is a good choice for beginning hikers and campers, with gentle walks, brilliant castles, and excellent trout fishing in its shimmering lake. Equestrians, both beginners and experienced riders, can arrange for beach and forest horseback trips at the Mount Pleasant Horse Trekking Centre.

In Newcastle and the Mourne Mountains, there are a number of accommodations available. New Youth Hostel is centrally situated, and the Beach House is a delightful Victorian Bed and Breakfast just opposite the beach. Several other B&Bs and hotels are located in the center and outskirts of Newcastle. Camping is always popular, especially in summer months. The Tollymore Forest Park, with tent and caravan sites, is located about 3 km northwest of Newcastle.

The Mourne Mountains of Ireland offer a breathtakingly beautiful combination of sand, surf, meadow, and mountain. The Mournes are the most famous of the Ireland Mountains and visitors can hike, climb, golf, fish, horseback ride, and simply soak in the superb natural views of these jagged peaks rising high above shimmering seas and fields.

How others see us

I have a facility on my computer called Google Alerts which lets me know during the period of a week if the term Mourne Mountains is used on the Web, either on a new website, a blog or an online article say from a newspaper. Anyone can use this facility via Google for any interest they may have, eg ‘Line dancing’, ‘Origami’, ‘ Neil Diamond’ ,’ Formula One racing’, ‘Humane Slaughter’, or London Transport; now one of the previous is actually another of of my alerts, I will let you ponder on which.

Well the content below is a description of Northern Ireland from a website that is trying to sell ‘Vacations’ Worldwide, I don’t know where it is based but I think it has used a generic description of Northern Ireland written in their own language and then used an online translation facility to translate it back into English. This has led to the word Metropolis being used instead of City when referring to Belfast and the Giants Causeway being described as the Good Causeway. It makes for a fun read but the essential message is still there.

“One or more of the four countries of the United Kingdom is Northern Ireland. This 14,000-square-mile area has a temperate oceanic climate. English Irish and its official languages, although their dialect of English has been influenced by the Scottish.

Northern Ireland has a great scenic mountains and one of the most famous may be the Mourne Mountains. This has been the inspiration of the famous author CS Lewis in his novel Children The Chronicles of Narnia. Numerous activities can be as the famous Mourne Mountain conducted a walk, hiking, fishing, horseback riding and more.

The water resources and networks are also a paradise in Northern Ireland. Several rivers and do Lough (lake) are as Bush River and Lough Neagh scattered throughout the country, where you can travel especially cruising, fishing or take it by foot or bike.

be far more than 40,000 of polygonal columns of basalt layers, which are guided by a volcanic eruption happen to the interest of tourists visit the good Causeway. The mean Percentage of the coastal road offers a breathtaking perfect hexagonal layers. This led to the Causeway declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The capital Metropolis, Belfast, can be the household with the famous ship Titanic. Located in the center of the city, the Cathedral Quarter in the center of attention of culture, architecture and Cooking was. Belfast is also the world-class interactive Science Discovery Centre, the W5, in addition to the ancient yet vibrant and colorful St. George’s Market. The Metropolis is also home to a large number of gourmet restaurants, chic bars and shopping centers.

The Walled City of Derry, the only surviving in Ireland, is a of the largest walled cities of Europe. The landmark building, popular walls and panoramic views Foyle charm lots of visitors. The targeted visitors for free and relaxing trails and roads from the Foyle Valley, it produces an award-winning bike path.

Where do you want to travel in the world? For an idea of where to go on your next vacation, visit famouswonders.com. While you are on the site, also take a look at things to do in Ireland.”

Coincidentally on Google Alerts, two weeks ago, I came across a description of the Mourne Mountains on another world wide Vacation site and it is one of the best I have ever seen, I hardly recognised the place and I live here. I will post this on a second blog; the only down side is that the have titled the article ‘MOURN Mountains’

Turn to Stone

There is an expression we have here in Northern Ireland,’Turn any Stone and there is a story’, and it is almost true. I guess we are a small country with a long history, a varied geology and a culture of myths and legends.

What brings me to this topic is the film about Burke and Hare that is on current release, coincidentally for me, in that it is directed by John Landis who directed American Werewolf in London and the 15 minute long video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller, both of which I saw as part of the Halloween celebrations by Newcastle Community Cinema, a small community driven cinema that puts on interesting films once or twice a month usually on a Friday night, worth checking out if you are staying in the area.
However back on message, Burke and Hare were both Irish, Burke was born in Strabane in1792 and Hare was born in Scarva possibly in the same year, they both reputedly worked on the construction of the Newry Canal, the first canal dug in Britain since the Romans, 20 years before the famous Bridgewater Canal that brought coal into Manchester and often cited, incorrectly, as the first canal in Britain; coincidently the Newry Canal was also constructed to move coal from the coal fields in Tyrone to the port of Newry, we even have a town called Coalisland in Tyrone.
See, there goes that ‘Turn any stone’ thing again, not any canal but the first in Britain, our own Coal mines.
I heard a local historian on the radio today mention that Burke and Hare worked on the Newry Canal but by my reckoning it was finished a good 50 years before they were born, perhaps they worked on it’s extension or a branch, in any case the used this experience of working on canals to move to Scotland to work as navvies there.  Being a ‘Navvie’ as it is known, from the term Navigation Canals would be with out doubt hard work, cutting trenches through solid rock on occasion, Burke and Hare soon spotted an easier way to make money using there digging skills.
Edinburgh had a well renown Medical School and Medical Science was becoming important as a study, medicine was moving away from the old Apothecary to the beginning of modern Medicine, Jenner had just discovered vaccination, Davy had developed the first anaesthetics, the first stethoscope was made in 1816, and the first blood transfusion in 1818. Doctors could now be trained, but, just as they do to this day, they needed cadavers to study anatomy but just as the demand increased  the supply decreased. Up until the 1800’s the source of dead bodies were people hanged for committing crimes, and under what became known as the Bloody Code, lots of crimes could be punishable by death, hanging for pick-pocketing was only repealed in 1808, writing a threatening letter could be a hanging offence. At one time there were 222 crimes punishable by death, but in more enlightened times Judges started to find people not guilty as they knew a guilty verdict was certain death, and combined with the repeal of these laws and the increased use of  transportation as the ‘punishment of choice’ the numbers of bodies declined to only a few actually guilty of murder.
The word got out that the Medical schools would pay well for recently deceased bodies and so began the practise of Grave Robbing, where a freshly interred corpse would be dug up and sold to the Medical Schools, on a ‘ask no questions be told no lies basis’.  Burke ad Hare saw this as an opportunity to make use of there digging skills and for that matter the digging was easy, not rock but freshly backfilled soil.
The Percy French song ‘The Mountains of Mourne’  has a few lines about the naive Mourne Man in London coming across people digging in the streets, obviously digging pipe trenches etc but they spin him a yarn,
They don’t sow potatoes nor barley nor wheat But there’s gangs of them diggin’ for gold in the street.     At least, when I asked them that’s what I was told
     So I just took a hand at this diggin’ for gold;
Well Burke and Hare did take ‘ a hand’ a the digging and got as well paid as if they had been digging for gold, they got paid up to £10 per corpse, the average workers wage at the time was £1 per week. But that was not enough for these two entrepreneurs, whether it was all that digging or that it was becoming more difficult to get into graveyards, guards were being employed and cages were being erected over fresh graves and left until decomposition would have set in, but Burke and Hare decided to short circuit the process by killing there own bodies. In all they killed 17 persons and were only caught when they left a body under a bed in a lodging house kept by Hare’s wife Margaret and one of the other lodgers returned unexpectedly to search for some clothing.
The evidence against the pair was weak but the Lord Advocate in Scotland offered Hare immunity if he would confess and testify against Burke which he readily did. Burke was hung in January 1829 and with a touch of irony he was publicly dissected in Edinburgh Medical College.
Hare was released the same year and began a nomadic life, some say he was blinded when thrown in a pit of lime and for a time was a blind beggar in London and last seen living in Carlisle. At some point he must have made his way back to Northern Ireland because he is buried in Kilkeel, something I need to check out for myself.
Talk about turn any stone, from a Gravestone in Kilkeel to a a blockbuster film by a leading Hollywood director.
A little foot-note Hare is not a common name here in Co Down and Co Armagh, but O’Hare is and I would assume that was Hare’s correct name but it may need a little research just as I would like to link the O’Hare name here with that of O’Hare Airport in Chicago, named after a WWII flying Ace Edward ‘Butch’ O’Hare, interestingly the son of Al Capone’s lawyer Joseph  O’Hare who helped provide evidence against Capone on his tax evasion charge, and there lies another interesting story, the subject of another blog I think.

“Leave as found”, puppy dogs and babies.

We use the  term “Leave as found” in our terms and conditions, which is basically a request to leave the cottage on departure as clean as it was found on  arrival. A not unreasonable request we think as we believe the affordable pricing of self-catering, based on a per person per night price, from as little as £12 per night even in peak season, is a trade-off between us the provider and the guest where the servicing tasks are shared.  This is opposed  to the fully serviced provision in Hotels, Guest Houses etc where the higher price includes an element to clean up after the stay.

We take the meaning of the term Self-Catering in it’s fullest sense where guests ‘cater’ for themselves, not only by cooking for themselves but also cleaning for themselves. Now we don’t expect guests to leave the houses spotless but we do expect them to make some attempt to tidy up.  What causes me to raise this topic is the way some guests left one of the cottages on departure today, they just walked out leaving the house in a ‘right state’. It appears that they cleaned nothing from arrival and just let their children run riot with breakfast cereal all over the floor and other foodstuffs walked into the floor.  Thank goodness we have durable tiling on the downstairs living spaces, if we had carpets we would not stand a hope.
We pride ourselves on how clean we prepare the houses and this matters greatly when we have a number of turn-a-rounds on busy days such as Saturdays in July and August when we could have as many as 17 properties to clean in the 5 hours between departures at 11.00 a.m.and the new arrivals at 4.00p.m., so that trade-off really comes into it’s own.
I don’t what this blog to become a rant, I think it is the exception that makes the rule and the truth is that the vast majority of guests leave the properties as they found them, so it really stands out when some don’t, I believe it shows a degree of dis-respect for my cleaners and my property.
On the topic of how guests leave properties, we often come across items left behind, the most common is the humble telephone charger. These are often plugged into sockets in bedrooms or behind furniture, so are often over-looked on departure. I can’t think of the most unusual we have come across but a colleague in the self-catering business has the best story. After some guests left she was preparing the house for new arrivals when she came across a puppy sleeping in the bottom of a wardrobe, I don’t know if the guests ever reclaimed the puppy, but thank goodness the cottage owner was a dog lover. It reminds me of a story some nurse friends told me in London, one of them was working in a maternity hospital and this extended family came to collect the new mum and baby. It was the nurses final responsibility to carry the baby down out of the Ward to the exit and hand it over to the departing parents. On this occasion so many of the extended family had arrived, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, siblings that by the time they all clambered back into the small Nissan Sunny, new mum and all, they closed the door and drove off and left the nurse standing holding the baby. I would like to say they were half way across London before they realised, but I think they only got as far as the hospital gates.

Snow in September


This photograph was taken with my Blackberry phone on Sunday the 12th of September in Tollymore Forest Park, (apologies for the quality, this phone not noted for it’s picture taking abilities)  The photograph shows snow in amongst the Pine trees of Tollymore, all I can say is, Global Warming what Global warming??.

But look closer and you see no snow on the track and even more remarkable no snow where I am standing, what can it mean? It reminds me of the old joke, about re-drawing the borders after the  Second World War, and a Polish Farmer was approached and asked if he wanted his farm to be in Poland or Russia, and he replied “Poland, I can’t stand those Russian winters.”
I have got to own up, it is not snow but sheets of a heavy white paper type material, a bit like the mulch matting you buy in Garden Centres to prevent weeds. The paper is cut carefully around the trees and tree stumps and looks remarkably like snow covered ground even close up.
The truth is,  it is a location for an American TV series which is being shot in Northern Ireland.
The series which will star Sean Bean ( formerly in Red Riding, Sharpe) is called A Game of Thrones,  and is being made by HBO TV, famous as the makers of The Sopranos.  A pilot was filmed in Northern Ireland last year, and if you pardon the jargon the ‘pilot was picked up’ and filming is now in progress for 9 episodes. Game of Thrones is HBO’s adaptation of the George R.R. Martin best-selling Songs of Fire and Ice fantasy-book series. It is described as an epic struggle for power set in a vast and violent fantasy kingdom.
One of the reasons Northern Ireland was chosen  was that the interiors are being shot in the former Harland and Wolf Paint Hall one of the last remnants of our  ship building tradition and is now the indoor largest Film and TV production stage in Europe .

Keeping up to date

A guest recently asked me why I did not keep up to date with my blogs and in truth I am not sure, just managing the cottages seems to take up a lot of time. We have an online booking system that gives the availability of the properties, the prices and allows them to be booked and paid for automatically but yet I seem to spend a lot of time answering enquiries by phone or by email. I think people still like to have the reassurance of contacting a real person.

I seem to spend a lot of time in front of the computer, especially at this time of year, this is the time when all the  entries are completed for next years brochures, this typical of the tourism business we are planning a year in advance. I compiled a list of the brochures and websites we market ourselves through and one of my intentions is to keep these up to date as much as possible, this list includes,
  • Northern Ireland Tourist Board
  • Northern Ireland Self Catering Assoc.
  • Holiday Villas and Cottages Magazine
  • Yell.com
  • About Britain
  • Visit Britain
  • Greentraveller.co.uk
  • Farmstay UK
  • Perfect Getaways in association with Ryan Air
  • Stilwell’s Cottages Direct
Each one of these has there own requirements, descriptive text of a certain number of words, photographs, prices for different sizes of house different times of the year etc. It would be great if one template would fit all but maybe that would be boring and in any case each is targeted at a different market segment so requires a different emphasis.
It may be noticed that we put a great effort on promoting the cottages outside Northern Ireland, ie Farmstay Uk Visit Britain etc, there are several reasons for this, firstly I believe we are in the tourism business, ie we should be striving to bring visitors into Northern Ireland as a primary economic function. We have few natural resources like coal or iron that can be exported so for NI plc to grow it’s economy we have to sell our tourism product like an export ie it brings new money in to the economy, anything else is just a recirculation of money within NI.
However the main reason is because I believe we live in a very special part of the world and I believe it is important to share this with people who will appreciate it.  Every day I look out on the Mourne Mountains and they are truly beautiful mountains, I am sure psychologists can probably explain why we find landscapes beautiful, I don’t know why but the Mournes really are. I think one of the reasons is that they are comprehensible, what I mean by this is that they are not a big range of mountains and they are not that high that they are daunting, they seem like you discover all you want about them in a single visit. I was on a trip to the Italian Alps and the mountains just seemed to go on for ever and the peaks ended high in the clouds, they were probably a paradise to the technical climber  but for the likes of me they were just too foreboding and off-putting.
The Mournes you know you can tackle and have a good days walking, and they are good walking mountains, I have had guests comment on how resilient the ground under foot is and they describe other mountainous regions in Ireland and the Uk as needing Wellingtons  rather  than Walking boots.
Having said, look at the top of this blog to see  a photo of the Mournes from the Cottages, and see if you can appreciate why I enthuse such much about the view we have.


I recently received a questionnaire on Eco-tourism with some good short questions, such as do you tell your guests about the Culture and Heritage of the area. Do you talk to your guests about the environment etc.

And then it asked what I thought Eco-tourism meant and my answer given of the cuff was as follows.

‘I would say Eco-Tourism is the provision of a holiday product where the provider tries to minimise the impact of their activities on it’s Environment, which includes the Ecology, Landscape, Culture and People.’

I don’t know if this is a good or a bad answer, I think it a bit of a blunderbuss answer in that everything is in there, nothing is missed a bit like the famous Eric Morecombe quote, ‘I am playing all the right notes, but necassarily in the right order…’.

There is an expression bandied about in tourism relating to minimising ones impact on a destination,

‘Leave nothing but foot-prints, take nothing but photographs.’,

and that, though simplistic, is a correct approach.
I remember as a child, that a local Forest Park had to put up signs to deter people from taking cuttings, as it was beginning to threaten the viability of certain plants. On the issue of leaving nothing but footprints, this is simplistic in the sense that too many footprints can lead to Erosion. The famous Mourne Wall Walk of the 70’s and 80’s had to be abandoned as on one Sunday in June up to 3,000 people would turn up to do the walk and if this followed a wet spell it could lead to serious erosion, in places the turf was eroded of a path, in places, some 6 metres wide adjacent to the wall.

As I type this there is a little filler programme on TV about walking in the Mournes, what a coincidence! It is on BBC NI and presented by the enthusiastic Darryl Grimason, some of the graphics showing the routes on a 3D OS map are very good and there is a series of these programmes showing walks in the Sperrins, Glens of Antrim as well as the Mournes. There is a website associated with the programme which I hope remains extant well after the programme is off-air. Click on http://www.bbc.co.uk/blueprint/offthebeatentrack/ and see what happens, you can click on the individual walks which are listed down the righthand side of the window and seen as red blobs on the map of N. Ireland.

The actual site http://www.bbc.co.uk/blueprint is absolutely fascinating, associated with a very good Television programme about how Ireland came in to being in geological terms, where it’s people came from, and much more a really good informative resource.

Rules and Regulations

I attended an agricultural Diversification on Friday last and a speaker emphasised the importance of blogging and what he called micro-blogging  by which he means Twitter. So I have resumed this blog  and will consider twitter.

The first topic is rules and regulations .

The reason I pick this topic is because I was watching a TV progamme on Sunday night about the Solar System and the presenter was staying in a motel in Mid America as he   was following Twisters to show the phenomena of    ‘Conservation of Angular Momentum’ which spinning theory can be applied as much to the circular pattern of our solar system as to a Tornado.

On the wall of the motel were two signs with two Rules, the first said ‘No Hunting Dogs in the Rooms’ and the second said ‘Game not to be cleaned or gutted on the beds’. That got me to thinking about the rules each accommodation provider has to apply in their particular circumstances. In ours is the rule that we do not permit visitors to the cottages at any time. We do that because at times the number of persons on our site could practically double if visitors were permitted and this can cause problems with some guests who come down for a tranquil time. There is also the problem of exploitation where people may rent a cottage and their relatives camp near by but spend all their time on our site. It is our belief that only the persons who are paying are entitled to be on the site and those that are paying are right to be aggrieved if others are there without paying. Tory Bush is more than just a place to sleep but there is an ambiance about the whole site and some regard it is a privilege to be there.

Amazing Dry Weather

It has been dry here in Co Down for the best part of  three weeks, which is highly unusual for this time of year.  A Continental High pressure are has been sitting over the UK for the last while and whilst this means drier weather it also means colder weather and indeed it has been cold for the last week or so. Our daytime temperature should be in the region of 6 to 7 degrees centigrade, but it has struggled to reach 3 to 4 for most days.

The long range forecast is that in about a weeks time the Winds will start to once again come in from the Atlantic bringing back, in relative terms, the milder weather, and with it the rain. Apparently only for these winds bringing this milder air in from the Atlantic which has been heated by the a Current called the North Atlantic Drift – a continuation of the Gulf stream- Ireland would have much colder winters. Northern Ireland is on the same latitude as  Goose Bay in Newfoundland and the average daily temperature at this time of year is an unbelievable Minus 13. This may not be a fair comparision as I am sure Goose Bay suffers from the affect of being part of a large Continental Land Mass and these tend to have bigger seasonal temperature variations, think of the central European Countries like Bulgaria etc.. Islands like Ireland benefit from the buffereing effect of being surrounded by water, but the point is that with out the heating affect of the Atlantic Drift we would be much colder, possibly in a mini-ice age.
The fear is, and this was not in my mind when I began this blog today, (I simply wanted to give a weather report), that as a consequence of Global Warming and the melting of the Polar Ice Caps there will be an influx of colder water from the North Pole which will push the benefits of the North Atlantic Drift much further south. So ironically as a consequence of Global Warming here in Ireland we may actually move into a mini ice-age. I seem to recall a BBC Northern Ireland Programme on this very topic presented by William Crawley and I do remember him traveling to Newfoundland and ‘flying’ about on a snow-mobile.
Now I am in a quandry, should I buy a new pair of Thermals or a pair of Bermuda shorts.