Economy heats up as the sun sends temperatures soaring
€20m daily boost as retailers celebrate hot spell
IT'S the true value of Irish sunshine. The economy will enjoy a boost of €20m every day for as long as the sun stays out.
With temperatures set to soar into the high 20s centigrade, more families will choose to holiday at home.
Forecasters agree a long period of hot and dry weather could last up to two weeks – and they're not ruling out the possibility of the best July in years.
That means a boost of up to €200m for the economy – especially the domestic tourism and retail sectors – if the warm spell continues for the predicted 10 days.
"Each day of additional sunshine is worth €10m to Ireland's home tourism industry alone," said Irish Tourism Industry Federation CEO Eamonn McKeon, whose sector is now looking forward to its first decent summer since 2006.
"The sunshine gets consumer sentiment up – the good mood it creates frees up their spending. The sunshine also gets foreign tourists out of the city and travelling around the country.
"Perhaps just as importantly, the good weather ensures that Irish people who are taking planned home holidays don't cut short their breaks. This has happened a lot in previous summers on the home holiday front when the washout weather wore people down and sent them home early."
Met Eireann says the temperatures in the next week are unlikely to break new records, but it will be very warm.
Only the north west will have to wait for the heatwave, with temperatures improving there from tomorrow.
The best of the weather today will be in the south-east, with Waterford, Cork and Kerry enjoying temperatures of 24C.
Athlone and the Midlands, as well as Dublin, will also be warm and will have the best weather on Sunday as temperatures rise to 25C or 26C.
Temperatures will hit between 28C-31C by midweek, with Dublin and the Midlands to get the best temperatures.
Hoteliers are already reporting a boost in business. "As soon as the detailed forecast came out, the phones starting ringing and the emails started pinging," said Paul Diver, owner of the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal.
President of the Irish Hotels Federation Michael Vaughan says that hotels along the coast "should expect to fill every night that there is sunshine".
"Irish people have been especially cagey over the last while when it comes to parting with their money, but when the sun comes out, they lose all abandon. I expect accommodation numbers will double while the good weather is here."
The retail sector is expected to enjoy a similar-sized boost to the tourism sector, which is much-needed after a washout spring.
Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) chairman Keith Rogers said that so far in July he expected business to be up about 18pc.
"That's likely to continue through July if we get the good days of weather that are being predicted," said Mr Rogers , who is also head of retail at the footwear company, Ecco.
Retailers were busy stocking up on essential summer goods such as barbeques, ice-cream, sun cream, cold drinks and garden furniture.
Tesco said that garden equipment like barbecues are nearly sold out and they've had to order more, while Supervalu and Centra have doubled their ice-cream orders for the weekend.
July's sunshine could also mean make or break for Ireland's beef and dairy farmers to enable a second cut of silage.
"As we know there was poor growth in the spring," said Dr Michael O'Donovan of Teagasc's agricultural research department.
"This month and August will really make the difference for second cut silage. If it keeps up through August as well, then farmers should have enough feed for next year. It's vitally important."
Meanwhile Irish Water Safety and drinkaware.ie both warned that water, alcohol and sunshine "don't mix".
"It's really important for people to know what a standard drink is, and how long it takes for it to leave your body," said Fionnuala Sheehan, chief executive of drinkaware.ie.
Things to do
* Bray Summerfest. July 5-August 5. Bray, Wicklow.
* Elvery Sports Achill Half Marathon. July 6, Achill, Mayo.
* Ennis Street Festival. July 6-7, Ennis, Clare.
* Kinsale Arts Festival. July 6-14, Kinsale, Cork.
* Willie Clancy Summer School. July 6-12, Milltown Malbay, Clare.
* Galway Garden Festival. July 6-7, Claregalway Castle, Galway.
* West Cork Literary Festival. July 7-13, Bantry, Cork.
* Moville Vintage Car Rally and Road Run. July 7, Moville, Donegal.
* Clonmel Junction Festival. July 5-14, Clonmel, Tipperary.
* Bellewstown Racing Festival. July 5-7, Bellewstown, Meath.