Nicola Anderson: 'Forget the duvet day - a stolen afternoon at the seaside is the most sinful of pleasures'
Down at the water's edge, a woman rushed up in a panic.
She was worried about a panoramic photograph that had been taken as she didn't want anyone to know she had been at the beach.
Forget the lure of the 'duvet day', a stolen 'beach-towel-and 99 day' is the most sinful of all pleasures.
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And not even the Garden of Eden had anything on the 'Garden of Ireland', as the mercury climbed to a joyous degree - but cleverly knew where to halt before it threatened to become too much.
In short, it was the perfect start to the school holiday - a classic Irish summer's day with skies of azure blue and the smell of sweet briar roses rising from the ditches.
In Co Wicklow, every attraction was in full swing,
At Brittas Bay beach, lifeguards Emily Clarke (18) and Nicole Devitt (19) were bracing themselves for a busy weekend.
"We had 7,000 people on the beach yesterday," said Emily.
Anne Brennan, from Shankill, Co Dublin, and Mary Feighan, from Naas, Co Kildare - two sisters both on maternity leave - had taken their children and mother Rita Purcell for a picnic.
"It's our first day at the beach this summer," said Mary.
Old schoolfriends Lisa Armstrong and Susie Ashford McDonnell, both from Ashford, Co Wicklow, were also having the first family day out of the summer.
"It's a fantastic, clean beach," said Lisa, who added that local volunteers were to be thanked for their evening litter pick-ups. "They get bags and bags of rubbish," she said.
Under a stripy umbrella, Sinead Wall and her children, Naomi (11), Samuel (9) and Daisy (8), were contemplating a swim.
Cousins Marsa Hunt (20) and Leah Kennedy (21), from Co Kildare, also met up to spend the sunny day together.
In a field off the Ashford Road roundabout, the heat of the day was testing the aerialists at Gerbola Circus.
"When you're up high there's hardly any air," said acrobat Talia Claire.
The circus had set up a little paddling pool to keep their German geese cool.
But it took them a while to get the hang of skidding down the slide outdoors instead of in the Big Top.
"The colours are wrong," said circus owner Mikey Gerbola, explaining that he had once put a red carpet down under their slide but the geese had point-blank refused to do the trick until he took it away.
Circuses come in and out of fashion, said Mikey - but the movie 'The Greatest Showman' has given them a boost.
"Business is good," he said, adding that 300 people had sat in the torrential rain last weekend as they performed outdoors at the Kildare Derby.
Their next stop is Gorey, Co Wexford, he added.
Meanwhile, the circus is looking to the future. Government plans for more sustainable energy have so far not considered them, said Mikey.
He hopes a grant might be introduced so that they can replace their vital diesel generators with new electric models.
"We'd like to be the first eco-circus in Ireland," he said.
At the foot of Powerscourt Waterfall, Therese Schweppe and Jonathan David basked in the sun as the temperature rose to a most pleasant 23C.
A couple for three months, this was Jonathan's first time over from the UK to visit Therese's parents.
"I've been here as a child but it's magical to see her Ireland," he said.
Staying in the hotel nearby, they had planned an enjoyable day of visiting the famous gardens.
"And then Johnny Foxes pub later," said Therese.
The delicious smell of barbecuing pork arose from a picnic table nearby as Janis Cerps from Drogheda celebrated his birthday with his wife Lena and their four children.
"We come here a lot. We love it here," he said.