The past couple of months at Marlay Park have brought almost every type of
weather except snow. After a run of three weeks of high winds and early departure
we had a torrential downpour without respite in early November. That was the worst
I have experienced in my fifteen months here.
I packed that morning in dry and calm conditions. When I arrived the rain was falling
steadily. I had resolved to go back home but was informed that there would be a
break in the weather around mid morning. The traders at Marlay are all amateur
meteoroligists. They talk in wind speeds from Beaufort scales to metres per second
to knots to miles per hour and gauge the variations in gust speeds. Everyone has a
weather app on their phones - mine just takes calls and texts. The apps never agree
with each other but everyone defers to the guy who has fifteen apps (seriously).
App man had estimated that the rain would stop at 11 a.m. I waited till 9.30 then
headed for the hills. As I made my way round the back of the park on the mountain
side I could see a chink of light over Tallaght which appeared to be headed our way.
I pulled in to the College road car park and waited. Lo and behold the app man was
right. Rain stopped at 10.30. I was back and set up by 11. What app man didn’t tell
us was that at 12 midday the rain would come back with a vengeance. At 2 p.m.
there was no sign of a let up and with nobody in the park the only options were to stay and wait it out or take down in a downpour.
With water rising around our ankles everyone opted for the latter.
Dismantling in a downpour is the doomsday option but sometimes you have little
The one thing you can say about market traders is that there is a great sense of
comraderie - the all for one and one for all mentality. Sometimes their hearts are
bigger than their heads but when someone offers help with a heart and a half it’s
often better to accept than to refuse even if there are consequences.
The problem is that everyone has their own system for packing and loading
especially if you’re trying to get a half ton of gear into a Nissan Micra. If you don’t
pack everything in a particular sequence it’s virtually impossible to get it all in.
In my case the gazebo weighing fifteen stone has to go first and at the correct angle
to maximize space. Dismantling the gazebo first means exposing the rest of the gear
to the elements. One of the traders offered to shelter my gear while I took down the
gazebo. Things were looking up. I started to dismantle when another offered to
finish while I brought my car around. Very generous I thought. I returned to find the
gazebo folded up and lying on it’s side in a puddle with all the sides in a crumpled
mess in another puddle. While I was recovering from the shock people descended
and began chucking everything in wily nily. I tried to explain but gave up. I did
eventually manage to get myself into the drivers seat soaked to the skin with no
visibility to the left or the rear but did manage to get home safely. Everything had to
be thrown straight into the back yard. It took me the rest of the weekend to dry the
stock and three weeks to dry out the car. It might sound like I’m ungrateful but really
I’m not. They’d give you their hearts and sometimes go above and beyond the call.
To prove the point on that same day one of the traders, a young Spanish girl who
had a nightmare introduction to the markets over the previous three weeks was in
serious distress. Her friend was to return at five to pick her up and couldn’t get back
early. She called a taxi and stored her gear with me while she waited. The taxi driver
arrived, refused to take her gear, turned around and drove off. The poor girl was
distraught. Luckily one of the traders had spare capacity in her van and took all of
the gear and the girl home, six miles in the opposite direction. How’s that for
Happily the weather has settled down again over the past couple of weeks.
The only thing we’ve had to cope with after the prolonged rainy spell was standing
‘A Walk in Marlay Park’ Acrylic on Canvas 16” x 20” Tony Gunning