Here comes summer as festival fever grips the country
Temperature rising as events on land and sea thrill crowds
IF the indifferent weather has not met expectations for the bank holiday weekend, the round-up of festivals has proven a roaring success, with roads jammed with revellers and day-trippers.
With the scent of summer in the air, many of the activities over the weekend centred around the country's waterways, with entertainment from Galway to Dublin attracting seafarers and landlubbers in large numbers.
Thousands descended on the City of the Tribes to enjoy the city's inaugural Sea Festival which continues today with sea kayaking, river cruises, beach walks and sandcastle competitions.
The offshore patrol vessel LE Aoife remains docked in Galway harbour offering free guided tours, while a seafood trail from Barna to Spiddal sets out to tempt the tastebuds.
Met Eireann forecaster Vincent O'Shea said the glorious sunshine expected over the weekend had not yet materialised but could arrive today.
And temperatures could reach the early 20s by the middle of this week, just in time for the start of the exams, he said. "It will be dry everywhere tomorrow, pleasant with some sunny spells and the summer weather will stay with us most of the coming week," he added.
The best of the weather today is likely along the east coast and inland, with cooler temperatures in the west and north.
Blue skies and warm sunshine are likely to swell numbers attending the Riverfest in Dublin Port, which attracted large numbers yesterday, adding to the thousands making their way to the city for Bloom in the Phoenix Park.
Families and tourists who made their way to the city centre could enjoy free tours of the Jeanie Johnston, kayaking around the tall ships and tours of the MV Cill Airne. Facepainters and balloon artists entertained the crowds who gathered along the River Liffey.
Elsewhere in the city, the Forbidden Fruit festival proved a hit with music lovers, both young and not so young, who gathered in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on Saturday and yesterday.
Last night, the line-up continued late into the night throughout a communal area encompassing three unique spaces in Temple Bar – Meeting House Square, The Button Factory and The IFI.
Meanwhile, 700 cub scouts heard the beat of a different drum as they assembled deep in the Dublin Mountains to celebrate 75 years of camping at Scouting Ireland's HQ at Larch Hill. Amid the silence and solitude of their mountain pitch, they tested their fire-making skills using flint and their gourmet talents with campfire cooking.
In Kerry, hundreds lined the streets of Killarney as some 30,000 motorcycle enthusiasts roared into town for Ireland Bike Fest 2013 which was sadly marred this year with the tragic death of a female motorcyclist.
Meanwhile, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore hailed the Rose of Tralee as one of the great festivals of Ireland that mobilises the entire Irish diaspora around the world.
Mr Gilmore was officially welcoming 61 Roses from all over the world to the Rose of Tralee Regional Festival which took place in Portlaoise, Co Laois.
The event will see 23 Roses selected to go forward to the televised International Festival in Tralee from August 14 to 20.
Mr Gilmore said each Rose plays a key ambassadorial role in promoting Irish tourism worldwide.
And one weekend does not a summer make. Revellers are already looking forward to the annual James Joyce Bloomsday Festival, which will take place from Monday, June 10, to Sunday, June 16.
Joyce aficionados, literary lovers, theatre buffs and music fans are invited to take part in a series of engaging and exciting events during the festival, which include a series of walking tours and the requisite Bloomsday breakfast, as well as street-theatre and readings all across the capital.
This year, Dublin will join cities across the world in an online global reading of 'Ulysses', with 25 cities across four continents set to take part. The event will be streamed live on www.globalbloomsday.com.