Letter Re: Surviving Severe Winter Weather in Ireland

Good Afternoon Mr. Rawles,
I thought you might like to know how the so called severe weather is treating us here in Ireland. We have had snow and ice on the ground for the past two and a half weeks. We live a couple of miles out of town and our local road resembles a skating rink, very easy to drive down the hill but not so easy to drive back up. But driving is not much of a problem as my wife is from the American Midwest and I spent five years living in the highest town in North America.

Due to the abnormally cold conditions for Ireland nearly everyone was unprepared for the conditions but we are doing just fine. The local water main is frozen solid so everyone is going to town to buy water for drinking, toilet flushing etc. We are now glad that my Wife insisted on buying a Berkey water filter so we use the 600 litres of water from the roof which is kept on the sunny side of the cottage for drinking and toilets.

The lack of water is also causing heating problems as all central heating systems here rely on water the end result is that a lot of people have no heat in their homes and have no fireplaces to provide heat. Luckily there is no problem with the electrical supply so they can use expensive electric heaters but they will cry when the bill comes. Again this is not a problem for us, when we moved in to this old cottage three years ago we ripped out the oil fired central heating system and replaced it with a solid fuel stove which burns coal, wood and anything solid, combined with the 2 foot thick stone walls we are nice and warm. During our construction boom houses were built without fireplaces and chimneys to save on construction costs, and with our new building regulations requiring house to be air-tight, many homes have no supplemental/back-up heating systems.

A nationwide complaint is the state of the roads. They was no supply of salt in the country to treat the roads, so, 40 tons of salt had to be shipped in from Spain yesterday. Currently no buses are running, schools and airports are closed and if people don’t have to go to work they are staying at home in their cold house with no water. The weather forecast is for another week of this weather, which will cause further chaos.

Yesterday Our beloved Government took a break from their month long Christmas holiday, the result of the meeting was that they managed to agree that the weather was bad, roads were impassable etc. The result of the meeting, believe it or not, was the usual reply to anything, “What do you want Us to do about it???”

We will survive the current weather crisis with our stash of food water and fuel, however, we are worried that people will die from the cold conditions. We keep a check on our neighbors to make sure they are fine but people in more remote locations are probably not so lucky. We will just have to wait and see the results when the thaw sets in.

To close I suppose the moral of the story is that you never know when or in what situations your preparedness skills will be required and most important of all keep a positive outlook. I am off now as my stew which is cooking on top of the wood stove is ready.

Keep up the good work on the blog – INNUKSUK