One of the most frequently asked questions by visitors to Cobh is, ‘do you ever get any snow here?’. The most frequent response is ‘not very often and not very much of it’. The Palm trees that line the main street along the town surprise visitors and in the sunshine can certainly impart a hint of the tropics. This year however several generations of Cobh residents were to witness one of the heaviest snowfalls in the general memory of the town. The confluence of biting cold Easterly Arctic winds bringing incredibly heavy deposits of snow and the raging gales of storm Emma coming from the South, combined to deliver blizzard like conditions usually associated with much colder polar climates. Public Transport and a lot of business’s were impeded, roads were blocked with snow drifts leading later to black ice and thousands of tons of melting slush. All had to be overcome to deliver essential services. Despite the challenges many of the small local stores remained open in loyalty to their daily customers.
The most interesting effect by far during those Arctic days in early March was that the spirit of the townspeople seems to have been universally lifted. As it was impossible to drive cars in the conditions, everybody was out walking. Walking gingerly across the newly blanketed white expanse, walking and talking to each other, walking and sharing stories of burst pipes, discussing the possibility of outages of power, offering assistance and advice on how to survive the snow and much more. There was an uplifting of community bonding, a sense of shared adversity, a collective joy at the fun and amazement being experienced by children playing in snow for the first time in their young lives. For adults who had never had to shovel snow from their drives, a whole suite of necessary chores were created. All said it was wonderful. The added bonus was that our spectacularly photogenic town was enhanced even more. The shapes and contours of architecturally preserved buildings were even more amazing draped in brilliant white. The marked detail of vegetation and tree limbs delineated by fresh snowfall engaged the eye and supplanted the mundane. After a couple of days, the novelty of having ‘snow days’ in front of the fire wore off and reality had to be faced again. But for a brief period in March, the sentiment certainly was….let it snow, let it snow, let in snow !!!
(C) Michael Martin 2018
Photos: (C) Geraldine Martin