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Dublin Does Winter: A Survival Guide

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Parnell Street, DublinThe fairy light garlands are swooped over all the major shopping areas, every vendor on Henry Street has this year’s ticket items (Justin Bieber posters and giant lighters, though the two are apparently unrelated), and it’s now socially acceptable to drink before noon, so long as your particular poison is garnished with a cinnamon stick. In short, it’s Christmastime in the city. The only thing that could make this postcard-perfect image better would be snow.

Careful what you wish for. Wintry Dublin is no day at the beach, ladies and gents. You’ll need the proper equipment and, of course, a sense of humor to brave Old Man Winter in a place where an ice rink can be closed due to icy conditions.

Number One: Boots

This one may seem obvious, and it is. Yours truly, however, happens to be one of many who thought it was a good idea to enter the slush-and-ice apocalypse with little more that canvas sneakers—y’know, for the rubber sole’s fantastic grip. The poor young ladies who wore their best spike heels on nights out in this mess soon learned to regret their footwear choices, no matter how fantastic their derrières looked. It’s just not worth it. Sacrifice your pride and break out the Timberlands your cousin threw at you when he outgrew them*. Invest in some wellies at the very least.

Number Two: An Umbrella

Don’t hit me with the old, ‘Liz, this is insane. Everyone has an umbrella. Plus this is shaping up to be one boring article.’ I’ve had it up to here with your sass**. I am nothing if not practical, dear, sassy reader. The umbrella will come in handy for the moments when the sky opens up, it’s true, but that’s not why they’re necessary. See, when the magical, childlike joy that comes with the first snow and the singing has stopped, the strangers with whom you were once frolicking will be taken over by the Dark Side and become your mortal enemies. Nothing so drastic as exploding neighboring planets, but an ice ball to the temple is not the way anyone wants to start the day***.

If you see a group of kids**** armed and ready, the umbrella is your first line of defense. Use that bad boy like a CGI extra in a battle scene would, defying the enemy’s assault with ease. Eventually, though, your Zen-like patience will run thin and the umbrella will serve a more aggressive purpose. They start pitching snowballs, and you use your umbrella, or indeed whatever blunted weapon you’d employ to bash in zombie skulls, and smash them out of the air. Then tell those punks exactly what you think of them before swaggering on.

Number Three: Movies/TV

The ice rink is iced out, the craft market is cancelled, and college is shut with your books in/conveniently inside. With the buses unable to face the icy roads, the Luas shut down because those darn kids keep pelting it with iceballs, and all of your friends lacking the adequate shoes to visit, you’ll be spending a lot of time inside. Now’s the time to get watch That Show You Always Wanted to Watch But Didn’t Have the Time or That Really Good Film That Everyone Raves About and You’re Shunned at Parties for Failing to See. Since I’ve already made you buy boots and an assault weapon, we’ll keep this free.

Stream it. Download it. Don’t pay. It’s December, so you’re broke anyway. Put your strong moral opposition to the Internet’s defiance of copyright laws aside and join me in my handbasket to Hell. When you’re knee-deep in an NCIS**** marathon the likes of which would make TNT blush, you’ll thank me.

Number Four: Candles

Imagine it: You’re on the couch, sipping your third-or-sixth hot whiskey, finding Timothy McGee ever more alluring, wrapped up in an blanket as the sun sinks down. Now’s the time for me to set the mood and move in for the kill.

I’m kid, I kid. I’m no Dean Martin.

When the power cuts out, which it will, you don’t want to be left in the dark for the days it takes your building’s maintenance man to make his way into town. No, he does not live in you building or nearby. No, I do not know why.

Number Five: YouTube

More specifically, the RTE clip of the anonymous gentleman who ate it so beautifully last year. I wish I could bottle it.


‘Bringing back the footnotes? Really?’

*I am digging those smelly beasts out of the basement the second I get home.

**I’m sorry. I love you. Let’s never fight again.

***If this is your wake-up method of choice, my apologies. I didn’t mean to offend. In fact, there are several young gentlemen and ladies outside my apartment who would be thrilled to help you out.

**** ‘Kids’ here refers to anyone between the ages of one and ninety two, as malice knows no age limitations when it comes to the white stuff.

*****Not the only reason to go home for the holidays, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

–Elizabeth O’Connell-Thompson is a Contributor to The Free George.

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