Get the sun screen ready – we're in for a scorcher
WE are about to enjoy our best heatwave in seven years, with temperatures soaring into the high 20s during a prolonged period of sunny weather.
Met Eireann says its weather modelling system shows the glorious sunshine will last at least 10 days as a ridge of high pressure settles over the country from the weekend.
"Things are starting to warm up already. We've been watching this for a while and it's finally going to arrive," said Met Eireann forecaster John Eagleton.
"I've been looking at the models and I'm seeing temperatures of 27C or 28C in the midlands by the middle of next week, with temperatures just a few degrees cooler on the coasts.
"The models are showing the high pressure still with us until July 14, but it could continue beyond that so we are finally in for an Irish heatwave." Mr Eagleton said Ireland will have its best July since 2006.
The first signs of the heatwave will begin today in all parts except north Ulster, where a weak low front may bring drizzle and showers to coastal areas. But inland temperatures will start to rise from this morning, climbing to 23C.
"The models are showing some drizzle for the north-west coast on Saturday, but I actually don't think that is going to happen and the whole country can look forward to a lovely warm weekend with temperatures rising as the week goes on," said Mr Eagleton.
"There will be light breezes along the coasts to cool things down a little and the beach will definitely be the place to be next week."
Peter O'Donnell from the Irish online forecaster meteotimes.net said: "The only debate at the moment is whether it is going to be very warm or hot.
"Temperatures will reach 25C in Dublin early next week with 28C in Mullingar and even the chance of a 30C recorded in the midlands."
However, cancer experts have warned people not to 'lose the plot' and rush into the sun without protection.
The Irish Cancer Society's health promotion officer Rosemary Scott said parents need to protect their children.
"The main cause of skin cancer in Ireland is UV rays," she told the Irish Independent.
"People can't see or feel the UV rays and as a result many people believe there is no need to protect their skin when they are out and about in Ireland.
"Parents need to protect themselves and their children and do so in the same way they would if they were abroad."