Bank holiday weekend off to a scorcher
It's even hotter than the Med as hundreds make bee-line for beach
IRELAND fared better than many Mediterranean hot-spots yesterday as temperatures soared nationwide.
While traditional holiday destinations like Majorca and Barcelona saw temperatures of between 18 and 20C, the thermometer at home soared to a high of 25.4C which was recorded in Oak Park, Co Kilkenny.
This contrasted with some parts of north Africa where temperatures only reached 19 to 22C in north east Algeria and Tunisia, said Met Eireann forecaster Vincent O'Shea.
The sunshine at home was almost universal throughout the country, with the exception of a thin veil of cloud in the northwest, he said.
"Unfortunately after such a smashing couple of days there's an unusually quick turnaround in store because of cold northerly air coming from the arctic, but at the same time it will be mostly dry for the weekend," he said.
Consumers responded to the sun by getting on the road early yesterday for the bank holiday weekend, and by stocking up on icecream, wine and barbeque foods.
Supervalu said that burgers, kebabs and in particular half-price sirloin steak was "flying out the door", along with fresh fruit, soft drinks and wine.
Tesco said that sales of packed salads were up 23pc on this time last year, showing consumers weren't put off by the E coli scare in Germany.
"All the signs are people are stocking up for an 'outdoorsy' weekend," a Tesco spokesman said.
Kerry-based icecream makers Murphy's said sales of icecream nearly doubled when you got a good spell like this and the difficulty was keeping up the supplies to their four cafes in Kerry and Dublin and the 20 shops they supplied.
"There are logistical issues to keep up, but we definitely get a secondhand dose of happiness, because people buying icecream tend to be in a good mood," said owner Kieran Murphy.
As the exodus from the capital began yesterday, AA Roadwatch warned drivers of the perils of driving in hot weather, because of driver fatigue.
"Make sure you are well rested, take a break if you need it and always travel with a bottle of water. Sunglasses are a must in this weather," said AA Roadwatch leader Aoife Carragher.
The June bank holiday weekend was always one of the most dangerous, and this will be the first weekend where new mandatory testing of drivers at the scene of a crash will also be carried out.
This reinforced the key message to never ever drink and drive, and AA Roadwatch also warned against using a mobile while driving.
Bishop Liam MacDaid, Bishop of Clogher, urged all motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, to take special care of themselves and their loved ones this weekend.
Drivers are heading for a huge range of festivals and events, ranging from the gardening festival Bloom in the Phoenix Park where visitors queued for admission yesterday, to Listowel Writers Week in Kerr.
Twins will gather in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan today for an attempt to set a record for the largest gathering of twins ever in Ireland.
The parade will be led by formerly conjoined twins Hussein and Hassan Benhaffaf, with organisers hoping to beat last year's record of 231 sets.
Up to 15,000 runners are expected to take part in the Cork city marathon on Monday, while 40,000 women are expected to run in the Flora mini-marathon in Dublin on Monday which organisers claim is the biggest all-women event in the world.