Irish Pollen

Irish girl sneezingOkay, I spoke too soon.

I have the great misfortune of being highly allergic to plant semen. Hayfever, pollen allergies – call it what you will, the sneezing, itchy red eyes, stuffy nose – this was a constant problem for me growing up in the Bay Area. First the flowers, then the trees, followed by the grasses . . . it was like the world wrestling federation of allergens was triple-teaming me 9 out of 12 months of the year.

Life in Ireland, by comparison, is absolute heaven. It’s wet most of the year – all green, no blossoms. The grasses and trees stay lush and verdant and the air is regularly rinsed clean of pollutants by refreshing rains and mist. My first breath as I stepped off the plane last week from my stateside visit was an elixer of clean, free breathing.

Tuesday afternoon something bloomed. I think it was the trees – they had that evil, petulant look about them; branches curling into malicious little buds. See, the thing is, in Ireland there is a limited window of opportunity for flora to reproduce. The rains and mist prevent such activity up until June. No spring fever this – the beginning of summer usually heralds two weeks of a complete pollen explosion.

The pent-up frustration of 11 and a half months spurts across Ireland for a period of two weeks in June, sending a quarter of the population into paroxysms of sneezing, wiping and wheezing as the pollen count soars to astronomic levels. All those grasses, trees and plants have just a pair of weeks out of the year to get it on.

*cue the Barry White music*

Be ye warned, allergenic Irish vacationers of the month of June in Ireland!!