‘St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’
IF you think the weather is bad today, get ready for another 40 days of glorious rain — well that’s if you believe St Swithin.
If it rains today, it will do so for the next 40 days, or at least that’s how the legend goes.
The proverb goes back to the ninth-century Saxon Bishop of Winchester, the pioneering reformer Swithin. He asked to be buried outside Winchester’s Old Minster but a century later, on July 15 in the year 971, his remains were moved into the first Winchester Cathedral.
The occasion was marked by very heavy rainfall, starting the tradition.
Folklore also has it that if the weather is fine on the day then we will enjoy 40 days without rain.
Judging by weather conditions predicted for today, it’s not looking good for the next 40 days, according to the wonderfully non-scientific method.
Met Éireann prefers to use science, logic and reason when ascertaining how our weather will fare from day-to-day.
Forecaster Jim O’Brien pointed out the outlook for today, at least, is not so good.
“It is going to be as it was the past few days, showery in many places and possibly even thundery.
“The weather at the moment is about average for what we get for this time of year. We have a very variable climate here,” he said.
We can’t complain too much. Last month was one of the best, in terms of fine weather, for more than 40 years in some parts of the country.
According to Met Éireann, we are better sticking with them rather than with St Swithin when it comes to predicting weather for the next few months.
“I wouldn’t be running to the bookies to bet on it to rain for 40 days, I’ll put it that way.
“We mightn’t get 40 days in-a-row of rain but we might get half that. We don’t do seasonal predictions but this is Ireland so you would expect the weather to be variable,” said Mr O’Brien.
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