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St Swithin strikes again as downpours and hail on way

LEGEND has it that if it rains on St Swithin's Day, which fell yesterday, then we're in for 40 consecutive days of soggy weather conditions. In Ireland, that seems a fairly safe bet.

With a scattering of rain and drizzle yesterday and wintry weather conditions predicted for the entire country this weekend, it's all starting out as St Swithin would have it continue.

The legend, which dates back to the 10th Century, claims that the Saxon Bishop of Winchester insisted on being buried outside in a common grave, exposed to the elements.

Later, as monks planned to relocate his remains to an impressive shrine, there was torrential rain for 40 days and 40 nights. It was said the dead bishop was weeping in protest.

Statistics for Ireland's summer so far, and this weekend's forecast in particular, will be enough to bring on a few more tears.

"It's not very promising," a Met Eireann spokesman said of the days ahead, with wind, rain and even thunder predicted to wash out our dying hopes of some consistent sunshine. And all this after a miserable June, which set the pace for a total summer wash-out.

Today may bring a fleeting glimpse of patchy sunshine but don't get your hopes up -- the entire country is likely to see this turn to rain, possibly hail, and even thunder storms.

Despite the omens, Met Eireann isn't so convinced St Swithin is ready to hit us with 39 days more of rain.

"It's one of those [legends] that just seems to appeal to people," the spokesman said, dismissing the notion of biblical retribution.

Irish Independent