Welcome back to The Bright Side! I hope you had a happy holiday season and enjoyed our hot and sultry Irish sunshine. How wonderful was it that shortly after I signed off to indulge in some family time summer came to Ireland and travelled the whole way to Donegal right up to the tip top of Malin Head and stayed around for a while. So I know you remained on the bright side no matter where you where because every side of Ireland was drenched in sunshine for a change and the dismal rain kept its distance.

Summer got a hundred thousand welcomes and what a year for it to arrive with events and festivals happening all over for The Gathering and the Fleadh Cheoil being hosted historically north of the border for the first time.  Derry never looked so good! I hope you enjoyed some of the music and the warm hot summer nights. Even though the evenings are growing dimmer and it is starting to cool the heat is still in our bones and we can be thankful for sun-filled memories and holiday fun that took place in our own back yard.

Since 2006, a succession of damp and dreary summers left us rummaging for our passports and opting for holidays abroad. But this summer it certainly wouldn’t have bothered you if you hadn’t a holiday booked on the Costs De Sol because cars and caravans headed in droves to Costa De Donegal and beaches where packed to capacity.

Our very own, weather-predicting postman, Michael Gallagher, predicted it as far back as January of this year. By watching the movements of animals and the growth of plants he predicted 2013 would be “wet for the first three months, then a season that may remind people of the summer of 1995, with long dry spells, especially the first half of July.” And he was right. 1995 is recorded as the best Irish summer on record. 1976 was the second-best summer on record, and 2006 comes in third but I can’t remember shops running out of ice and ice cream. The summer of 2013 is bound to have beaten them all. While visiting Galway in late July I met a young lady of eighty seven who told me she never experienced a summer like it. “I can’t remember ever having a problem sleeping at night because of the heat,” she said, as she cooled herself with a fan made from a bit of newspaper. “I’m not complaining, she said, I am only making a comment.” That was something else that I noted over the summer. Everyone was very reluctant to complain of the heat or if the heat was becoming a bit much they caught themselves on pretty quickly. We have been rained and blown out of it for a number of summers now and when summer came it was such a welcoming relief that if anyone dared to feel hot and bothered they bit their lip and trailed off in mid sentence, except perhaps Joe Brolly. Some sort of heat definitely got to him but nothing lasts forever including sulks and long, sultry Irish summers. Brolly eventually apologised to Cavanagh and unfortunately it is not Tyrone or Donegal’s year this year so we’ll be all back to normal in no time talking about the weather…or dare I say it…the rain. What goes up must come down sometime but in the meantime September might surprise us with an Indian summer so we can wear our sandals a little bit longer and delay the enviable…here’s hoping…