Though it is a poor excuse for bathing only once a month,
Stephen is correct that "All Ireland is washed by the
gulfstream." Declan Kiberd identifies the sentence as a
"famous line" from an "Irish geography book."
The Gulf Stream is a strong current in the North Atlantic that flows from the Gulf of Mexico to the northwestern edges of Europe. Other currents flow south and west, completing the huge circle of the North Atlantic Gyre and making the flow perpetual. The massive importation of warm water from the Gulf, and the transfer of much of its heat to the westerly winds prevailing in the region, make Ireland more temperate than its latitude would predict, and also wet. Both from the ocean currents lapping at its shores and from the rain constantly threatening to pour from its skies, the island is indeed "washed by the gulfstream."