“Don’t worry. There are a lot eighteen-year-olds that live around us. They’ll get eaten first,” I told my girlfriend.

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse is one of my side hobbies. When I drift out of a conversation usually it is because I’m evaluating the space around me and considering how to bolster it against the infected hordes. Someone would be talking about upcoming weddings or the achievements of their child and I would have to interrupt them to ask how much wood there was in the house, and could it be enough to cover the windows.

When I wrote this column last year, Ireland was just coming out from under the effects of Storm Emma. All stores and buildings were closed down. The university was cancelled for four days. The government had declared code red and warned everyone to stay indoors. The news described the island as being under “treacherous” and “unrelenting” conditions.

It was unlike anything most had ever seen. There were two inches of snow. The first snowflake fell on a Thursday. By Tuesday I had read that many stores had sold out of bread (sparking the headlines “ArmaBREADon!”). Colleagues asked if I had stocked up on supplies and was ready to face “The Beast from the East,” as it was soon called.

I laughed, because I assumed they were joking. While Ireland didn’t have many snowplows, it did have salt after the last “significant” snowfall fell in 2011, paralyzing the nation for a week. Not surprisingly, the roads in my area were bare. What was shocking, however, was that there was nowhere to go to.

The allure of a zombie apocalypse—and why it is such an American obsession—is probably this: all of our obligations, expectations and pedestrian concerns get eradicated at once. There’s no more co-op meetings to go to. There’s no more 4-H cookies to sell. It’s all about getting something pointy to stab into brains, getting some food that won’t spoil, and getting somewhere to hide that can be boarded up.

That’s the sexy part that we all think of anyway. The other part of it became apparent on ‘Day Two’ of the storm. “We’re stuck in this depressing house with nowhere to go,” my girlfriend said. “I’m bored.”

We went for a walk, thinking that surely some store somewhere must be open. (We had plenty of food, just not the kind we wanted to eat. Those are what’s called “vegetables.”) Not only was all the stores dark and locked up, but the city we lived in looked like the post-apocalyptic deserted urban landscape show in movies. Not a car on the busiest roads, and seldom a person on the sidewalks.

What there were plenty of in fact, in lieu of either people or zombies, were snowman. Because the snow was such a novelty that every bit of it lying over grass had been shaped into a figure of some sort.

And because it was Ireland, every snowman had breasts. To distract ourselves from the cabin fever I continued training my girlfriend for the rise of the undead.

“We’re looting a store,” I said. “What do you grab?”

“Tinned food.”

“Too heavy. Grab the butter. Lots of calories and it will help out the surviving Irish dairy farmers.

Okay, you’re in a group of people running from the zombie herd. Who do you trip to save yourself?

“The fat guy. It’ll take longer to eat him.”

I high-fived her. “You’re ready.”

It turns out, we are apparently amateurs in looting. In Dublin, the snow reached about a half a foot, and it seemed to have frenzied the people even more. After two days of not having bread (or maybe beer?) someone stole a large backhoe and tore down a Lidl’s grocery store. The scene was recorded on someone’s phone as the machine left the entire building into a pile of rubble, as well as the thirty or so people standing around the safe as the bucket tried to crack it open.

Unfortunately for the vandals they posted the whole affair on the Instagram accounts, leading to their arrest the next day. The incident sparked pages of internet memes, as well as suggested why some of the world’s greatest mastermind criminals tend not to be Irish.

By that Sunday, the snow is all gone. The snowmen had all withered into flabby middle-aged bodies and became nothing but scarves and bikinis on the ground the next day. It appeared the zombies had lost. We now had bread on the counter, although it got stale before we bother eating it. All the responsibilities and commitments we had the week before were back again.

Minus one Lidle store, we were back into the pre-apocalyptic world, with enough time to plan for when it all happens again.