THE Christmas holidays got off to a stormy start over the weekend as the country was lashed by gales and driving rain.
Trees and power lines came down, forcing a blackout for thousands of people as Electric Ireland battled to restore power to many parts of the country.
It said 1,700 households around the country had been without power as a result of the storms.
Irish Rail reported that a number of its services were hit as trees blocked train lines.
In Dublin, Clonsilla Road was closed off for much of yesterday after a tree fell on to a parked car.
And the forecast for the coming days isn't much better, although Met Ireland has insisted that it definitely "will not be a white Christmas".
The worst affected areas were Longford, Drogheda, Kilkenny/Waterford and Dublin, as well as Mayo and other parts of the west coast.
Winds of more than 100kph caused damage in parts of the country from late Saturday and into the early hours of yesterday.
The days ahead will see a mixed bag of wet and windy weather, mild conditions – with temperatures set to hit double figures – and even some frost in some parts tomorrow, Christmas Day.
David Rogers of Met Eireann said there was "absolutely no chance whatsoever" of a white Christmas in the midst of the mild spell.
"The weather will be changeable with rain or showers practically every day up to the middle of the week," he said.
"There will be widespread showers during Christmas Day but it will be all rain showers, there will definitely be no snow or sleet."
Today's Christmas preparations could be a stormy affair with heavy and possibly thundery downpours in some areas, although it should get drier and brighter as the day progresses, with some sunny spells.
The western and southern coastal counties, however, can expect scattered showers.
Elsewhere, temperatures will plummet overnight with lows of between -1C and -4C.
Christmas Day – especially inland – will be dry and cold with a widespread sharp ground frost.
The rest of Christmas Day will be generally cold and bright with sunny spells, with daytime temperatures climbing to between 5C and 8C, although the western coastal counties can expect more heavy rain and possibly hail.
St Stephen's Day will see a return to the strong winds that buffeted much of the country overnight on Saturday. Winds will develop in the late morning and early evening with widespread heavy rain in the afternoon and moderate temperatures of between 5 and 9C, and the rest of the week looks much the same.
Meanwhile, power was restored to 1,700 customers by teatime last night after gusts reached up to 110kmh.
A spokeswoman for Electricity Ireland said dozens of repair crews were in action around the country restoring power to the homes, with problems mainly caused by branches falling down on lines.
It said that all power had been restored by 6pm last night.
Ireland has managed to escape the widespread flooding that has affected Wales and the southwest of England following torrential rains that have prompted forecasters there to issue severe weather warnings.
Hundreds of homes and businesses in Devon and Cornwall were flooded when some rivers burst their banks due to torrential stormy conditions.