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Gardaí patrol beaches as temperatures hit 22C after large crowds gathered at weekend

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Gardaí on Curracloe Beach Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Gardaí on Curracloe Beach Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Gardaí on Curracloe Beach Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Gardaí were patrolling beaches in the sunny south east today to ensure social distancing is being maintained during the spate of good weather after 'crazy' crowds gathered over the weekend.

County councils are urging people to avoid congregating in large crowds on beaches and are expected to send out warnings in advance of the August bank holiday next week.

Temperatures hit highs of 22 degrees across the country today and Curracloe Beach in Wexford was awash with sunseekers on staycation.

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Liam Cloke, owner of the Strand Shop and Takeaway, is urging beachgoers to wear a mask inside his shop Photo: Gerry Mooney

Liam Cloke, owner of the Strand Shop and Takeaway, is urging beachgoers to wear a mask inside his shop Photo: Gerry Mooney

Liam Cloke, who runs the Strand Shop and Takeaway, is urging beachgoers to wear masks inside his shop Picture; Gerry Mooney

Liam Cloke, who runs the Strand Shop and Takeaway, is urging beachgoers to wear masks inside his shop Picture; Gerry Mooney

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Liam Cloke, owner of the Strand Shop and Takeaway, is urging beachgoers to wear a mask inside his shop Photo: Gerry Mooney

The main car park was full by 12pm but families were well spread out across the beach as they stuck to social distancing guidelines.

Sinead Dunne, her husband Daniel and their two children arrived on Saturday and said they had to leave the beach at 1pm as the beach got so busy.

“We’ve been coming early every day and leaving before lunch to avoid the rush, it was crazy on Sunday but overall it’s been fine,” Ms Dunne said.

“We were meant to have a holiday in Lanzarote this year but we’re enjoying our staycation.”

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People enjoy the good weather on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

People enjoy the good weather on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

People enjoy the good weather on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Liam Cloke, owner of the Strand Shop and Take Away, said he is concerned about some beachgoers not wearing masks in his shop.

“Generally I’ve found the youngsters have been better than the adults for wearing masks and putting on hand sanitizer,” he said.

“A few people are genuinely forgetting about it but then there’s a few who just aren’t doing it.

“It’s been very busy the last few days. There’s been people from all around but overall everything has been running smoothly.

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Curracloe beach feature. Nicola Chaplin and her son Luke 4) from Broadford Co. Clare on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Curracloe beach feature. Nicola Chaplin and her son Luke 4) from Broadford Co. Clare on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

Curracloe beach feature. Nicola Chaplin and her son Luke 4) from Broadford Co. Clare on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

“We’re going to put another ice-cream cone machine outside the shop to stop crowds gathering inside and we’re putting up seated areas with perspex screens outside the takeaway. I’m telling people to put on their masks before they come inside.”

Children in the arcade were all wearing masks and everyone is asked to sign a form for contact tracing purposes. .

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Curracloe beach feature. Ken and Brenda Lane from Limerick with their three children on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney. **parents did not want to give children names**

Curracloe beach feature. Ken and Brenda Lane from Limerick with their three children on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney. **parents did not want to give children names**

Curracloe beach feature. Ken and Brenda Lane from Limerick with their three children on the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney. **parents did not want to give children names**

“People need to social distance, not the machines,” a sign at the arcade entrance reads.

Ken and Brenda Lane from Co Limerick said this is their third year in a row holidaying in Wexford and their first trip away since lockdown.

“It’s been brilliant, we’re staying in Wexford town and generally it’s been quiet. We haven’t chanced eating out or anything yet and opted to stay in self-catering apartments,” Mr Lane said

Jack Murphy, owner of the Surf Shack, resumed surf lessons on June 8 and is taking all bookings online to help manage crowds.

“We’re busy but we’re only operating at about 50pc, everything is being done online to allow us to control it better. We usually have around 32 people in a group but at the moment we are only taking eight and staggering out the times of classes.”

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The packed carpark as people enjoy the good weather and make their way to the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

The packed carpark as people enjoy the good weather and make their way to the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

The packed carpark as people enjoy the good weather and make their way to the beach. Picture; Gerry Mooney.

On Sunday, gardai were drafted in to direct traffic at Duncannon beach in Wexford after large crowds congregated.

Gardaí had to turn people away shortly after lunchtime and urged people to avoid the area.

Wexford County Council said it was one of the busiest days of the year at the beach as hundreds gathered.

David Minogue, communications manager with Wexford County Council, said they’ll be sending out warnings to avoid a repeat this weekend and over the bank holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, in Co Wicklow the council has decided not to allow outdoor swimming lessons to go ahead off Greystones’ beaches.

Social Democrats councillor Jodie Neary said the decision “doesn’t make sense”.

“We are currently in touch with Water Safety Ireland to get some clarity on the situation for outdoor swimming lessons,” she said.

“It doesn’t make sense that indoor pools are open but outdoor swimming lessons can’t be carried out.

“Families have told us how important this activity has been for their kids who’ve been away from their friends and clubs for so long since the pandemic.”

Online Editors