The big €hill

The weather as a meteorological metaphor for the state of Ireland. If this be the case then the big chill that is hanging over the island will be around for some considerable time to come.

As the days counted down to Christmas, Ireland was languishing in a meteorological big chill with public and private transportation virtually at a standstill.

Dublin Airport witnessed chaotic scenes as authorities urged stranded and frustrated travelers to return to their homes in the face of grounded flights - no easy task with the roads turned to ice rinks.

Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter

Sign up today to get daily, up-to-date news and views from Irish America.

The combination of the arctic weather - Siberian would be more geographically accurate - and the economic chill that has settled over the island would be a test for any people.

The Irish remember hard times, but they aremore used to rainy yuletides than white ones.

This year, however, will be of the snow white variety.

All very nice, only that it has largely been this way forweeks - and the novelty is fast wearing off.

The economic impact of the big chill will be all too apparent, an icy end of year insult to injuries sustained in the early December budget, a document forced upon the Republic by the circumstances of the times, but one that in any time would look like the musings of a fiscal Grinch.

The fiscal chill will outlast the weather’s version, though the two could wellmeet up again in January, February and even March.

Nevertheless, and in the face of even this nasty one-two punch, the people of Ireland, living at home and abroad, as they always do, will make the most of their Christmas and New Year holiday, all the while sparing a thought for those who are even worse off.

This enduring Irish capacity for giving is illustrated in the above photo which features singing Santas in Dublin who risked frozen fingers and toes for no fewer than four charities.

On page two of this issue, we are reminded in a story about Haiti that no matter how hard times might be in Ireland or the United States, we are all truly blessed. With this as a thought, we wish a merry, holy and warm Christmas to all our readers and see you again in 2011.

By Ray O'Hanlon

Tourism Ireland Banner Ad