Autumn Essentials for a Rainy Climate
What Ireland lacks in sweeping swaths of red, orange, and yellow leaves it makes up in a stunning autumnal atmosphere of its own (the leaves do change here, but I’ll be the first to admit it’s nothing like in my native Michigan or in New England). Here we have spooky old cathedrals, the best selection of cafés in Europe (biased? not me), plenty of bookstores to browse through for hours, the most incredible natural surroundings, and the perfect autumn weather: rainy, overcast days that often begin with soft layers of mist and fog – beautiful to behold whether you’re in the city centre of Dublin or out among the rolling green hills.
Over the years, I have embraced the Irish autumn with open arms. Nothing wakes me up quite like the crisp, cool morning air – in fact, I’d say there’s no better way to start the day. I spend my weekends here either holed up in cafés enjoying coffee with my husband and our friends or taking advantage of the natural beauty on long walks with our golden retriever. There really is nowhere better to spend autumn than in a rainy climate, and here are the items that help me make the very most of my favourite time of year.
Sturdy, waterproof shoes
Once upon a time I’d have advised readers to have a pair of rain boots (or wellies, as they’re called here) but no one wears wellies unless they’re at a festival where the ground is likely to turn to muck, or if they’re down on a farm. If you wear wellies in Dublin, you’re a tourist. And everyone knows it.
Instead, a pair of sturdy, waterproof shoes or boots will do the trick. While it does rain quite a lot here, it never really lasts for too long, so you’re unlikely to get absolutely drenched. I own a pair of Dune boots as well as the Barbour loafers pictured here, and the thick sole is what helps my feet stay dry as I walk in the rain. Dr. Martens are also great (the thickest soles you can find, probably) and they have a vegan range, which is what we should all aspire to in our footwear. Avoid buying cheap footwear where possible because it’s guaranteed to fall apart, and wet, sloshy socks are just about the worst things in the world.
Keep Cup for chilly hands
In the aftermath of a downpour, nothing warms you up quite like a hot drink (specifically coffee, but tea is fine as well). Keep Cups are becoming more commonplace lately which is fantastic; they’re reusable, easy to clean, and they keep your hands toasty warm thanks to their contents. I’m a big fan of their glass versions – the cork band is stylish, and for some reason coffee just tastes better out of glass than out of plastic. I even use mine at work instead of a mug because I love it that much!
In Ireland, humidity is just a fact of life – it is an island, after all – and with humidity comes unpleasant smells. When I find myself in need of a bit of refreshment, I opt for Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone in the autumn and winter months not only because the smell is gorgeous but because it stays on my skin even as I put on and take off layers. It’s deep, musky, and strong, so only a few sprays are required, and it’s more unique than any other perfume I own. When I wear it I immediately feel more autumnal – spooky even!
I’ve mentioned Avoca before, but what I haven’t mentioned is that its origins are in hand weaving wool. The original Avoca Mill was set up in 1723, and since then it has been producing beautiful woollen creations from sweaters and socks to blankets and scarves. Avoca wool blankets make perfect gifts as they’re cozy and snuggly without being itchy, and they come in every colour and style imaginable, from lambswool to cashmere as well as thicker blankets weaved from Donegal wool. You can find me wearing mine like a cape between the months of October and January.
Obviously. Obviously! Autumn is the best time of year for candles. The days shorten quite quickly here in Ireland, with the sun setting around 4:30 PM and not rising until nearly 9 AM. At the end of the day, my husband and I light candles in our sitting room and bedroom for maximum coziness – our current favourite is Roasted Chestnut by Yankee Candle. I have been on the hunt forever for the perfect autumn candle, and this is it. If you’re a fan of the pumpkin spice scent but are looking for something a little less sickly-sweet, then this is the candle for you. It just smells like what autumn should smell like. Trust me on this one. Buy five of them.
Lauren Olmeda holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international relations. She is a public affairs assistant based in Dublin, Ireland and is Editor-at-Large of the Attic on Eighth.