How to make the most of Ireland's first burst of summer weather this weekend
The first true burst of summer is about to hit Ireland - with temperatures expected to soar to between 18 and 21 degrees on Sunday.
While tomorrow will bring the prospect of rain to most of the country, Sunday will bring a different story for northern and eastern parts.
“Tomorrow will be wet with heavy rain, possibly thundery downpours locally,” a Met Eireann forecaster told independent.ie.
Top temperatures tomorrow will range from 12 to 16 degrees, making conditions quite muggy and humid, she said.
“On Sunday it will be a brighter day. Sunny spells will develop.”
“The day will become warm with temperatures rising to between 18 and 21 degree in southeasterly breezes.”
“During the afternoon heavy thundery showers will break over Munster and Connacht but these will die away towards night,” the forecaster said.
“For the rest of the week, it’ll be a mild week with good, sunny spells. The transition from rain will happen on Saturday and Sunday.”
So you might want to seize the day on Sunday and early next week and enjoy the summery bliss - here are some things to do:
Dublin is likely to see the best of the weather on Saturday, in between showers, so if you do manage to grab a few minutes of sunshine it might be worth popping down to the Canal Bank Market in Portobello.
Portobello Square will be taken over from 11am-5pm by vendors selling all sorts of trinkets and crafts from their stall. There will be live buskers, tea and coffee and food producers, as well as vintage clothing, vinyl records, artisan homewares and bespoke goods, all in the gorgeous setting of Portobello.
Or, if you fancy yoga in the fresh air there's the Outdoor Yoga Project from The Yoga Hub. There are sessions at the weekend in Stephen's Green and the Phoenix Park. If it rains they use the bandstand so there's no excuse! Proceeds go to the Peter McVerry trust, there’s a minimum donation of €5 and things kick off at 11am Saturday.
However, Sunday promises to offer the best in terms of sun, which is perfect timing for the Family Fun Raceday at Leopardstown. As well as the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, there will be tonnes of free activities for kids including baby bouncy castles, magic shows and a custard-pie puppet show. Sunday from 12.30pm. Family tickets €25. Visit www.leopardstown.com
If you'd like to use your time for a good cause and test your fitness prowess in the process you could opt to take part in the Wings for Life Run on Sunday at noon in Dun Laoghaire. It's in aid of spinal cord injuries and you can register in person at Elvery's Dun Laoghaire until 7pm today (Friday) and until 6pm tomorrow. Visit www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com
Get on your bike - or hire a bike from Phoenix Park Bike Hire, open 10am until 7pn on days blessed with good weather. Hire costs €5 for a couple of hours, €8 for the afternoon or €10 for the whole day. You can also hire tandem bikes. Check out www.phoenixparkbikehire.com You could always throw a picnic in the park too or visit Dublin Zoo www.dublinzoo.ie
Down in the Burren there's the Burren in Bloom learning festival, which runs until May 18. It celebrates the arrival of the beautiful wildflowers with walks, talks and demos. There's a walk with guides on Sunday from Burren National Park (Gortleka). www.burreninbloom.com
Find a good beer garden... Yes, they're as elusive in Ireland as snakes but when you find a good beer garden or rooftop bar in the sun there's really nothing like it. In Dublin you can't beat The Bernard Shaw's beer garden on Richmond Street, although make sure you arrive early as it's jammers on sunny days. You can also reserve a table HERE. Ditto Billy Byrne's in Kilkenny which has a similar vibe. One of the best in the country on a sunny day is Gings Bar in Carrick On Shannon.
Of course, you could stay at home and simply throw a barbeque. It's probably a good idea to hit the meat aisles of your local supermarket today - before they're ransacked and left bare save for those stringy, stewing beef cubes nobody ever buys. Don't forget the condiments!
Or, if you fancy a freebie, we have more than 3,000km of coastline including some spectacular beaches just ready and waiting to be walked, surfed, or enjoyed however you please...