Smirking From Home

Turning ideas into words.


The North Coast of Northern Ireland is the geographical equivalent of a schizophrenic. On the one hand it’s extremely rugged and beautiful, with a pervading sense of calm amongst the cliffs, peaks, dunes and valleys. There’s a real sense of getting away from it all up there, a place to clear what might ail you. Yet there is a harshness and lurking menace which is inescapable. One man’s scenery is another’s desolation, borne mainly of bitter winds and horizontal rain.

 IN the past 3 days we’ve encountered 17 different shades of bloody freezing. One minute the sun is splitting the skies and the next we’re battling blizzards. Interspersed between these fluctuations is a rain which tears the skin from yer face, so unmerciful in its desire to inflict physical pain. If the Yanks fancied a stop off on their International Rendition tour for suspected members of Al’ Qaida they could do no worse than alighting here. A few lashes of a wet tea towel on POrtsewart Strand should loosen a tongue or two. Even in the 3 years I spent at university in this neck of the woods, I cannot actually remember a time when there wasn’t a wind which sole modus operandi was to cut you in two.

 Admittedly when I lived here you did become accustomed to it. You had to. Weather-wise the place takes no prisoners, especially in the wintry months between October and March. Naturally these months also coincide with the bulk of the scholastic year at university so the majority of our 3 years here were spent either floating gaily downwind, hoping to stop in time before been hoisted into the ravaging waters, or tramping diagonally into a gale, our pockets weighed down with change for balance. Was it my imagination at the time but did the walk home from the Anchor always seem to be into a headwind no matter what way ye were heading?

 A good friend of mine at the time ended up with a broken leg having being physically lifted by the wind one evening in Portrush and deposited on the other side of the street. She wasn’t helped by the fact that she was six-foot tall and willow-framed. I can recall her saying at the time that it was both scarily frightening and bizarrely exhilarating. I’d lean towards the brown trouser sensation myself. It’s not something you expect to experience outside of the American Mid West although the funnelled streets of Portrush do create ideal channels for the cold North winds to wreak their mischief. Whilst I’ve never travelled to places where extreme cold was the expected norm, I can only believe that relatively speaking, the North Coast is the coldest place on the planet.


April 9, 2010 - Posted by | Times Past |

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