Ireland’s ancient Brehon Law allocated just 17 sticks of wood per adult for keeping warm. Considering the very cold, very wet, very windy climate, 17 sticks seems a bit stingy. But trees are not aplenty in Ireland and rationing wood made for wise conservation even in ancient days.
Today the country imports plenty of timber, but the 1,000-year-old practice of burning turf (or peat) is still a popular way to keep warm. However, now conservationists are sounding the alarm about the rapid reduction in wetlands due to turf harvesting. According to the BBC, almost 40 percent of Ireland’s bogs were destroyed between 1995 and 2012. Thankfully in today’s modern times the nation can easily cuddle up and get warm with electric or gas heat.
Since there are many elderly people in Ireland, as well as immigrants arriving all the time from parts of the world where the sun shines warm more often than not, the government issued some tips for keeping warm:
- Have at least one hot meal per day.
- Have hot drinks throughout the day and one before bedtime.
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Keep stocked up on basic foods for the days when you may be unable to get out to the shops or do not feel like cooking. Consider cooking extra portions of a meal that you can freeze for another meal. Tinned and frozen foods are other healthy options to keep in stock.
- Walk around the house often. If you have difficulty walking, wiggle your fingers and toes often.
- Wear several layers of light clothing instead of one thick layer.
- Sleep with warm bedding, warm nightclothes, a nightcap, socks, and a flask with a hot drink beside your bed.
- Keep your curtains closed.
- Heat just the smallest room in your home and do your living and sleeping there.
- Use a hot water bottle close to your belly for maximum warmth.
Considering the weather in Ireland, it’s easy to understand why among its most popular exports are sweaters and whiskey. Layer up enough and down a shot of quality liquor, and you’ll feel yourself warming up in no time no matter what the mood of the sun.