If you can't take the heat get out of Furnace – as temperature hits 23C
The aptly-named Furnace, near Newport, in Co Mayo was the hottest spot in the country yesterday with temperatures soaring to 22.9C under blistering skies.
Met Eireann last night said it was likely to be the warmest day of the year so far.
On Portmarnock beach in Co Dublin, Brazilians Bruna Cosseres (28) and Nadine Escovar (28), who have been living in Ireland for the past three years, said the best Ireland had to offer weather-wise had left them somewhat underwhelmed. "We decided to come down to the beach because we had the day off work. You can't get better than this in Ireland, it's hard to believe it's so sunny and bright. It is beautiful but it's also a bit chilly compared to what we'd get in Brazil," they said.
Elsewhere, where wetsuits are usually the order of the day, glorious sunshine encouraged bathers to brave the Atlantic swell.
Although they live only 8km from the beach, yesterday was the first time the Hannafin family from Annascaul, Co Kerry, got to go swimming at Inch beach on the Dingle Peninsula. For Gabriel (10) and little sister Mia (8) it was the first of what they hope will be several dips this summer.
"Normally, we're down here and we're blue with the cold, but the water is actually fine," mum Heather told the Irish Independent.
But not willing to brave the water without her wetsuit was Deirdre Sheahan (16) who visited Inch with siblings Grace (14) and Mark (10) to try out the surfboard she got for her birthday in March.
Surf instructor Tom Leen of Kingdom Waves said yesterday was the busiest on the blue-flag beach so far this year. "Usually, it doesn't get really busy until July and August when all the schools are on holiday but we're getting a lot of visitors from Canada, Australia and especially from the UK," he said.
Met Eireann predicts the good weather will continue into the weekend with temperatures hitting the low to mid-20s and most of the country enjoying prolonged periods of sunshine, a welcome break from what has been one of the coldest springs in record and the coldest May in 17 years.
Mean air temperatures were below average all over the country but March was the coldest in decades. Dublin Airport recorded its coldest spring since 1951 and elsewhere in the country weather stations recorded their coldest springs in 15 to 34 years. On May 29, 15C at Valentia Observatory was its lowest spring maximum in 73 years. The season's highest temperature was in Cork where it hit a high of 21.5C on April 23.
The coldest days of spring were on March 12 and April 6 when temperatures plummeted to -7.6C in Markree, Co Sligo.
Across the rest of the country, temperatures were the lowest since 2006 but rainfall was also below average in the midlands, west and southeast. Weather stations countrywide also recorded their dullest spring, with lower than average sunshine value in most places.