SOARING temperatures across Ireland surpassed many Mediterranean hot spots and water restrictions plus a hosepipe ban were enforced in some parts of the country.
Met Eireann has confirmed that so far today Newport in Co Mayo has had the highest temperatures, with the mercury reaching 28.4 degrees.
So far the west has been experiencing the hottest temperatures of the week, however forecasters expect Leinster to be the hottest part of the country tomorrow.
While there is no end in sight for the sunny spell, Met Eireann has said a 'gradual cooling' of temperatures will begin over the weekend.
Despite the heatwave, we are still a few degrees away from breaking the all-time Irish record of of 33.3C – the highest temperature every recorded was at Kilkenny Castle on June 28, 1887.
More recently, the hottest spell was between July 16 and 20, 2006, both in terms of temperature levels and duration.
Yesterday's high equalled Tuesday's, giving us the warmest two days of the year so far.
The country's first real taste of summer has forced many local authorities to impose overnight water restrictions to conserve supplies.
On the west coast, swelling tourist numbers due to the scorching weather have resulted in a surge in water usage.
A hosepipe ban has been introduced across Galway, while water restrictions are in place in parts of Kerry where demand has more than doubled in some popular tourist spots.
Around 4,000 households in north and west Cork had limited water overnight.
Cork County Council continued to impose restrictions, and the Clonakilty area was especially hit. Similar restrictions have been put in place in Clare, Limerick and Donegal.
Council officials have appealed to householders to avoid wastage, and urged that taps should be turned off while brushing teeth. Non-essential chores such as car washing are being discouraged.
Lifeguards crews have been busy dealing with people getting into difficulty while swimming off beaches and at lakes and rivers, while fire crews have been dealing with gorse fires, including a sizeable blaze in Killiney, Co Dublin.
The Department of Agriculture has warned of a "high" to "extreme" risk of wildfires in parts of the country that could place increased demand on already challenged water supplies.
Click to see hottest parts of Ireland yesterday
Junior minister Tom Hayes appealed to people enjoying the countryside and forest parks to be alert to the dangers and advised woodland owners and managers to check their fire plans.
Livestock farmers have been urged to pay particular attention to their animals, particularly in barns and during transportation, to avoid heat stress.
The department also warned farmers that they are legally obliged to ensure all necessary measures are taken to prevent unnecessary suffering.
Farmers have been urged to check ventilation on trucks and indoor units such as milking parlours, and are advised to reduce stock density, provide plenty of water and ensure animals have sufficient shade.