When the Cork-based writer showed her mother and father around Ireland, the summer staples of high prices, changeable weather and delicious 99s were all part of the experience.
“Pack for winter.” I’d warned my parents when we last spoke.
They had visited me in London when I lived there, but nothing could have prepared them for an Irish summer.
I was the adult in the relationship now; responsible for keeping them safe and dry. I was going to have to remind them to wear sunscreen, despite the clouds lurking in the corners of the frame.
Inevitably, it was raining when they stepped out of the airport. Mama looked up, squinting instinctively, expecting to find the sun. They hadn’t taken my advice, and their shoes were soaked through. My Irish (then) boyfriend felt the need to apologise on the weather’s behalf.
So the first place they visited in Dublin was Grafton Street. We went in and out of shops, looking for weatherproof clothing. Most of which were made in India and Bangladesh.
Papa, like so many men from his generation, doesn’t shop for himself very often. When he does, he checks the labels, tries them on, parades around in them for our opinion and that of the sales assistants, checks the labels again, then remarks at the price before closely investigating the quality of the fabric.