CHRISTMAS swimmers could have sipped on cocktails rather than hot whiskeys after emerging from the sea yesterday, since temperatures in Ireland were higher than in holiday hotspots like Corfu.
It was one of the warmest Christmas Days on record, with a highest temperature of 14.4 degrees recorded at Met Eireann's Moore Park station near Fermoy, Co Cork.
In comparison, it was 13 degrees in Corfu, Greece and in Sardinia, Italy.
Klara Finkele, a forecaster with Met Eireann said they weren't exactly sure when the warmest Christmas Day was -- but yesterday was definitely one of them.
"My colleagues were saying that 2002 was warmer but we haven't been able to properly check," Ms Finkele said last night. "It is definitely one of the warmest, although 1988 and 1974 were also quite warm."
Temperatures in 2002 hit a high of 14.6 degrees, while the mercury rose to 13.6 in 1988 and 13.9 in 1974.
Met Eireann will have to wait until later today or tomorrow to figure out exactly where 2011 fits in, since their climate department is off for Christmas, and they will have to consult records going back to 1851.
And, unlike the last two years, Met Eireann said no snow was due to fall anywhere yesterday. The east and south enjoyed some sunny spells, with a fair amount of cloud and gusty winds elsewhere and, with heavier rain in the north and west. The warm weather meant Christmas Day swims were just that small bit easier, with dips taking place around the country, including Sandymount and along the Grand Canal in Dublin.
Other swims took place in Galway, Lough Mac Nean in Co Cavan, and at other locations around the country.
Jonathan Powell, a senior forecaster with Positive Weather Solutions, described the weather as "unusually mild". "With unusually mild Christmas temperatures for Ireland, barbecued turkey has been an attractive alternative to a roast this year, so I suppose you could call it a 'BBQ Christmas'," Mr Powell said. "It felt more like spring it's certainly a dramatic contrast to the bitter temperatures of Christmas 2010."
Ms Finkele said it will remain mild today, with temperatures between 12 and 14 degrees.