Saturday 24 March 2018

Tourism boom was a rare bright spot as we endured coldest July in 22 years

Jonathan and Megan Daly from Lucan get to meet one of the deer in Dublin's Phoenix Park Photo: Sasko Lazarov
Jonathan and Megan Daly from Lucan get to meet one of the deer in Dublin's Phoenix Park Photo: Sasko Lazarov
Alina and Manthei from Germany in windy conditions on Killiney, Co Dublin Photo: Stephen Collins
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A grim July is set to be followed by a dreary early August as Met Eireann warns of an ongoing risk of heavy showers.

While there will be patches of sunshine today and Thursday, there will be a risk of showers throughout the week, with temperatures again below August averages.

Worse still, an Atlantic front will approach Ireland from Friday, with the possibility of further heavy rainfall next weekend.

Heavy and prolonged showers will again develop along the west coast and gradually spread eastwards, with Wednesday likely to see rain in most parts nationwide.

There will be spells of sunshine today and Thursday, although temperatures will again remain stubbornly below normal August levels at between just 16C and 19C.

Unfortunately for those planning 'stay-cations', Met Eireann is forecasting showers, some quite heavy, for Wednesday and Friday.

Last month ranks as the coldest July in 22 years and one of the wettest on record in Ireland. Fuel merchants confirmed that coal, timber and turf sales are now on a par with October levels.

Cork-based elderly rights campaigner Paddy O'Brien warned that the cold was now having such an impact on pensioners that the Government should sanction the early re-introduction of fuel allowances.

However, while the August Bank Holiday weekend was marked by very unsettled weather, it also attracted record tourist numbers, including a major hike in foreign visitors.

Professor Mark Bailey of the Armagh Observatory confirmed what shivering festival-goers were already painfully aware of - Ireland's weather is the coldest for almost three decades.

Rainfall at the station, which was founded in 1795, was also an estimated 26pc higher than normal for July.

The Armagh weather team recorded the coldest July evening for decades - only surpassed by July 4, 1984, when the minimum air temperature sank to 4.7C.

The average monthly temperature last month was a full 1.4C colder than the 1981-2010 average.

Sunshine was just 86pc of the 30-year average.


Despite the weather, Ireland's packed festivals programme, coupled with the weakness of the euro, has given a much-needed boost to the tourism industry.

Shannon Airport confirmed that it enjoyed its busiest August Bank Holiday Weekend in the past five years. Dublin Airport has also reported exceptionally busy trade.

Shannon handled over 40,000 passengers from Friday to yesterday, which is its busiest level of trade since 2010. US trade is up by 6pc, thanks to a number of new routes, while EU/UK trade is up by 20pc.

Irish Independent

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