'Max temperatures will be in high twenties, potentially higher' - Heatwave could make it hottest summer since 1976
- This could be Ireland's hottest summer since 1976
- Ireland will be hotter than the Algarve and the Canaries next week
- Temperatures set to soar to a "possible 30C"
- Temperatures will reach a maximum of 25C today
- People warned to stay safe in the water and to call emergency services if they notice someone in distress
- Animal experts share tips on how to keep your cats, dogs and other pets safe in the heat
This week's heatwave could result in this being the hottest summer in Ireland since 1976.
Forecasters are predicting temperatures to reach a peak of "possibly 30C" on Friday.
The country can expect temperatures of 25C today and 26C tomorrow, reaching a peak on Thursday and Friday with the mercury tipping 27C.
Furthermore, Ireland is set to be hotter than the Algarve and the Canaries, the balmy Mediterranean-like summer evenings included.
From today, the mercury will steadily begin rising - with the hottest temperatures predicted for south Leinster and the midlands.
Met Eireann forecaster Liz Walsh told RTE Radio One that the hot weather will persist until next Saturday.
"The high pressure and settled conditions are settled to persist, meaning increasingly warm and sunny conditions.
"The UV levels are high or very high. Please take a note of caution if you see anyone in trouble in the water."
Tonight marks the end of the cool nights, according to the forecaster, with overnight temperatures this week reaching the low and mid teens.
"It will be dry, warm and sunny tomorrow with a bit more high cloud. This means that the sunshine could be hazy in places.
"Max temperatures will reach between 20 and 27 degrees, warmest inland," Ms Walsh continued.
"And it will be cooler near the coast.
"There will still be a bit of a veil of high cloud on Tuesday but this should clear eastwards, allowing temperatures to climb into the high twenties and, in the mid-west, max temperatures will be in the higher twenties and potentially higher than that locally.
"The hot weather will start to wane from next Saturday, with an increasing threat of thundery outbreaks moving up from the south.
"The exact time and details of this remain uncertain."
Sales of ice cream, cider, barbecue foods, garden furniture and even flowers have soared over the past fortnight.
Irish Hotel Federation members are reporting brisk trade with a number of high-profile concerts and festivals nationwide.
However, sunseekers are warned to be careful in the heat.
Irish Water Safety urged people to take care in the sea and around lakes, rivers and streams. After an horrific fortnight on Irish roads, gardaí and the Road Safety Authority urged people to drive safely.
Meanwhile, animal experts have also shared some top tips for keeping pets safe in the warm weather.
They have advised cat-owners to use sunscreen on cats' ears to avoid skin cancer and to keep a dish of water in a shaded area for them to drink from.
For dogs, owners are advised to keep a bowl of water in a shaded area and to ensure birds are not drinking from the same bowl to avoid contamination. Also, it is better to walk your dog early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid them becoming dehydrated or suffering from heatstroke.
Finally, for those with rabbits and guinea pigs in hot weather, owners are asked to watch out for signs of heat exhaustion.
Make sure rabbits and guinea pigs can access shade if they live outdoors. Place their hutch in a cool area with good airflow and move it around shadiest parts of the garden as the sun moves. Also, avoid plastic hutches as they can get extremely hot under the sun, and opt for wood instead.
Meanwhile, hay fever sufferers are set to be even worse off as hot and humid temperatures roll in across the country, according to allergy experts.
With little rain to keep the pollen count low, those who suffer with hay fever could see "miserable" conditions, according to allergist Dr Paul Carson.
"It will only get worse for those who suffer from hay fever because these climatic conditions lead to high pollen counts," he said.
He said the recent period of warm weather throughout May and June has caused the pollen count to rise very early in the morning and fall late in the evening.
"In Ireland we don’t get prolonged periods of warm weather without any rain. Usually we get a burst of sunshine and wet days follow which wash the pollen out of the air," he said.
He added; "Because of these air currents, the pollen is constantly produced and rises early in the morning and comes down late in the evening."
Dr Carson, who is an allergist with Allergy Ireland, said his clinic has received higher call volumes this year from patients seeking treatment for the symptoms caused by the irritating condition.
He also said there has been an increase in patients seeking treatments who have never previously suffered from these symptoms, which include itchy eyes and sneezing.
The pollen count for the entire country will be classed as "very high" from today as the temperatures climb to the mid-twenties.
He said as the hot temperatures climb, the pollen count is likely to remain high.
Pharmacist Niamh Murphy from Lloyd's Pharmacy told Independent.ie that treatment also depends on the symptoms at the time of year, with the worst of the season clearing up towards August.
"If somebody is affected badly we would recommend an antihistamine eye drop on top of a non-drowsy tablet, or even a steroid nasal spray if that's the area affected the worst," she said.
The Asthma Society of Ireland recommend the following precautions for those that suffer with hay fever during the summer:
- Stay indoors as much as possible on high pollen days
- Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
- Keep windows and doors closed when the pollen count is high
- Avoid drying clothes outside
- Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period