Sun hasn't set on glorious weather
Fantastic spell to go on for the week
THE country basked in glorious record-breaking sunshine this weekend, and yesterday was the warmest day of the year.
Students on their last day of the mid-term break were treated to soaring temperatures and clear-blue skies as Met Eireann noticed an unusual increase in the average April temperature.
The highest temperature recorded in the republic yesterday was 19.6C in Claremorris, Co Mayo, while the hottest place in the island was in Castlederry, Co Tyrone, which reached 20.4C.
"For April these are 2C or 3C above what we would expect," forecaster Eoin Sherlock said. "In some places it was definitely the warmest day of the year."
Met Eireann cited the unusually high temperatures on cloudless skies and exceptionally long days of sunshine -- yesterday the sun rose at 7am and set at around 8pm. Between 16C and 19C was experienced overall throughout the country.
However, coastal areas affected by sea breezes were not so fortunate in the temperature stakes, with Malin Head in the North reaching just 11C.
The warm weather will continue today, with temperatures just slightly dipping to between 15C and 17C. On Tuesday they will dip further in some areas, with the latter half of the week seeing the sunshine returning to a more usual 11-15C for April.
In terms of rainfall, the country is expected to remain dry for the week with the exception of a few small showers, particularly in northern counties.
"We've had exceptional weather over the weekend. It's been fine and dry with temperatures to the mid-teens," Mr Sherlock added.
"Next weekend there are signs of some rain but nothing substantial. It looks to be fine and dry for the most part, thanks to high pressure and a southerly flow of warmer air. The coastal areas will always be a few degrees colder."
Other areas enjoying high temperatures yesterday included Shannon Airport (18.9C), Valencia (18.2C), Knock (17.8C) and Gurteen, Co Offaly (17.9C).
Sun-worshippers are advised to make the most of the next few days because, while it will be staying mainly dry and settled, temperatures are set to fall back later in the week.
And, in keeping with our maverick weather, temperatures at night could fall as low as zero in some parts of the country.
Forecasters are predicting more chilly nights ahead, especially towards the middle and end of the week. By Wednesday and Thursday temperatures will have fallen back from our brief "heatwave" and will range between nine degrees and 13C.
Moderate north-east breezes will continue and it will feel quite cool along the east coast.
While there are clouds on the horizon for later in the week, the outlook for tomorrow is good. Any fog will clear in the morning with many areas enjoying some long spells of sunshine.
The unseasonably warm spell comes after we experienced one of our coldest winters in 50 years.
December, January and February were found to be some of the coldest months on record, making last season the coldest since 1962/63.
February itself was the coldest since 1986, and in some parts the chilliest in more than 40 years.
But, in the same month, the country enjoyed an unexpected blast of sunshine.
While the east remained usually dull, the south and south-west had the sunniest February for more than 40 years.