TODAY is shaping up to be the hottest day of the year so far as we head into a long-awaited week of hot summer days and balmy nights.
Met Eireann is predicting the mercury will soar to the high 20s inland – possibly as high as 28C – and mid to low 20s elsewhere as a ridge of high pressure settles in over the country for the next week or longer.
And it could get even hotter than that by Friday when the heatwave is expected to peak.
The shift to a high-pressure system late last Friday saw hordes of sun worshippers flock to the beaches and parks on Saturday to soak up the rays.
The good weather was also met with delight by thousands of festival-goers across the country. Wellies were put away and bottles of sun lotion were opened as temperatures reached 25C in some parts.
The sprawling Killruddery estate in Bray, Co Wicklow, hosted the Groove festival and its grounds were thronged with revellers enjoying the heat and chilled-out tunes.
Groove had a laid-back vibe and families soaked up the atmosphere along with the blazing sun.
Imelda May took to the stage on Sunday, following Damien Dempsey.
Dublin bar Whelan's had its own stage, bringing a taste of the city and displaying Little Bear, O Emperor and Hermitage Green.
A silent disco played each night, while CDs twinkled from trees and stilt walkers roamed the grounds.
Anthony Mooney (34), from Dublin, said the setting was the icing on the musical cake.
"The venue is really stunning," he said.
"The gardens provide a perfect space to what was a fun, family-friendly music event."
The Abbey gardens in Wicklow town held their own festivities as they opened their gates to the Taste of Wicklow festival. Families sprawled across the church grounds on blankets among the abbey ruins, enjoying circus acts, musicians and chef demonstrations.
Food stalls offered treats from paella to burgers and visitors were also welcome to bring picnic baskets in celebrating 400 years of the town's establishment.
Local Natalie Robinson (28) said: "It was great to get the community together in such beautiful grounds with such fabulous weather. There's a great turnout."
In Dublin city, the all-inclusive arts festival 10 Days in Dublin kicked off and acts in comedy, music, theatre, film, art and spoken word kept visitors entertained at a number of venues.
Dubliner Cassandra Egan-Langley (27) took in various shows at the festival.
"The schedule is jam-packed and caters for everybody's tastes," she said. "I've really enjoyed the events."
The festival runs until July 13. Meanwhile, in Galway, Athenry hosted its 125th agricultural show; while Cork held Australia Day at Cobh Harbour.