In the end, it’ll turn out to be a typically average Irish year

The Winter woollies could be needed for a few days to come.
The Winter woollies could be needed for a few days to come.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

We’re all familiar with the line of ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’, and now with 11 months and a bit of the year having expired, most observers of the great outdoors would take a lot of convincing that it hasn’t been a very wet year.

However, the rainfall statistics for the year actually tell the tale of a 2017 that overall will be pretty average in terms of precipitation. This probably indicates that there is a just a grain of credibility in the notion that every year in Ireland we get the same amount of rainfall: of course, we don’t, but on a lot of years the total comes in around 1,200mms., roughly 47 inches.

The difficulty in any subjective assessment of weather is that whatever conditions prevail at ‘the present moment’ tend to dominate our emotions as to the type of year we’ve been having.

Statistics from Athenry’s Met Éireann station indicate that for the last two months of October and November, rainfall has been below average but that’s not much consolation for the people of the land, due to the saturated ground conditions, a legacy of our wet late Summer and early Autumn periods.

Rainfall in Athenry for October was just over 123mms. or nearly five inches, coming in at 5mms, under the average for the month while November was the driest month since last May, with just 90mms. (3.5 inches) of rain over the course of its 30 days.

With the exception of March (143mms.) they had an exceptionally rain free Spring at the Athenry station with January, February and May very dry months while April was an exceptional month with only just over half an inch of rain recorded in Athenry.

The real damage was done from late June onwards and especially in the backend window of September and October, a really critical period for farmers trying to maximise their dividend from the later grazing period; the delivery of second cuts of silage and of course the harvesting of the grain crop.

And yet, there was no what could be described as any ‘savagely wet’ month with July the dankest at 136mms. (5.4 inches), followed by October (123mms), September (118mms) and August (103mms.).

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.