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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Tills are ringing as rising mercury hits the mid-20s

Heatwave brings ray of sunshine for economy with €150m cash boost

Wayne O’Connor and Greg Harkin

THE soaring temperatures set tills ringing around the country with economists predicting a €150m boost.

Beaches, parks and tourist attractions were buzzing yesterday as the majority of the country enjoyed temperatures pushing into the mid-20s.

The best of this spell of weather is set to continue for most of the country for another two days at least, forecasters have said.

The warmest temperatures to be recorded by Met Eireann were in Shannon and Fermoy, where the mercury hit 26C.

Alison Mc Quaid from Raheny and Jacqueline Ferrigan from Dundalk enjoying the weather at Clontarf yesterday
Alison Mc Quaid from Raheny and Jacqueline Ferrigan from Dundalk enjoying the weather at Clontarf yesterday
'Gatso' shares an Ice Cream with owner Una O'Connor from Clontarf at Dollymount yesterday during the warm weather.
Teenagers jumping off the boardwalk bridge at Dollymount yesterday during the warm weather.

Further north, people had to wait for the sunshine to burn off a thick sea fog which had covered the coasts of Sligo and Donegal in the morning.

But thousands of people flocked to the beaches countrywide as there was sunshine coast to coast by the afternoon. Many areas enjoyed 25C temperatures including Mullingar, Athenry, Ballyhaise and Dublin.

Gardai were out in force at north Dublin seaside towns as hundreds of sun worshipers took to the capital’s beaches on the hottest day of the year so far.

Officers patrolled Portmarnock and Howth in a show of strength aimed at preventing the kind of trouble previously seen when gangs of teens gathered on hot days in so-called flash bash’ incidents arranged over social media.

Gardai yesterday kept a close eye on the Velvet Strand where they conducted routine bag searches as young beach-goers alighted from buses.

In the harbour village of Howth gardai also maintained a visible presence, as large crowds descended on the area to enjoy the sunshine.

Gardai was present at the train station as well as on foot patrol and in squad cars.

Irish Rail halted services to Sutton and Howth stations in both directions yesterday from 2pm at the request of gardai.

A Garda spokesman would not comment on the request last night for “operational reasons”.

The Dart service stoppage was scaled back to northbound trains only at 3.30pm and the restrictions were subsequently lifted in time for rush hour at 5pm.

Gardai had described the precaution as a “rolling decision” to ensure that beach crowds were kept under control.

Economist Jim Power feels that as children remain in school this week, the economy will experience a €50m boost as consumers spend more on summer clothes, sun cream and seasonal treats like ice cream.

This figure rises to €100m at the weekend if the weather holds – with small businesses and restaurants expected to see the best gains. “People buy into it (the sunshine) because they want to get out as much as possible before the weather goes away,” said Mr Power.

For some areas the summer rush was too much – gardai were deployed to the north Dublin coast as thousands were expected to descend.

Gardai requested that no DART trains stop at Sutton station from 2pm yesterday to deter crowds, but this was lifted in time for rush hour.

At the end of last month, several hundred teen-|agers descended on Howth in north Dublin where vicious clashes erupted.

Elsewhere, retailers reported a 305pc rise in the sales of sun cream, while ice cream sales are up 54pc.

Tesco saw a boost across their drinks range. Cider sales are up a massive 85pc, beer sales are up more than 45pc and white wine sales are up 10pc.

Yasmin Kahn, who runs the Teddy’s ice cream stall on Dun Laoghaire pier, said: “We have seen a huge improvement this week. When the sun comes out and people smile anyway and we try to give them 99 more reasons to do so.”


There will be a few more days of fine weather, although it won’t be as hot as it was earlier this week. Pat Clarke from Met Eireann said: “Normal temperatures for this time of the year are 16C to 18C, and temperatures will fall back over the next few days. But they will still be around 21C or 22C.

“The long days of wall-to-wall sunshine however are over for now, with a lot more cloud around over the next few days, but it will still be very pleasant.”

Met Eireann says the best of the weather today will be in the south, but early drizzle and fog along the west and north coasts will give way to sunshine later.

After that there will be a north/south divide with hot and sunny weather for most of the country through the weekend, said Peter O’Donnell from Irish Weather Online.

Failte Ireland welcomed the heatwave, saying that it encourages ‘staycations’.

“This is the kind of weather we at Failte Ireland pray for every day,” said head of communications Alex Connolly.

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