Another scream for ice cream as country basks in glorious weather
THE beach was the place to be yesterday as thousands of sun-seekers flocked to the seaside to bask in what was one of the hottest days of the year so far.
But it was landlocked Mullingar, Co Westmeath, that recorded the highest temperature of the day with the mercury climbing to a sticky 25C.
The longest day of the year saw up to 16 hours of sunshine recorded across the country as the mini-heatwave of the weekend continued.
However, sun-worshippers have been warned to make the most of the fine weather as rain is set to push in from tonight.
Inland weather stations recorded the best of the sunshine yesterday with Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel, Co Dublin, and Ballyhaise in Co Cavan both seeing top temperatures of 24C, while Gurteen in Co Tipperary was another hot spot at 23C.
Beaches around the country rivalled resorts in the south of Spain and France with just a little sea fog interrupting the sunshine along the Dublin coast.
While no new records were set yesterday -- temperatures have previously risen as high as 30C in June -- Met Eireann forecaster Pat Clarke said it was still one of the hottest days of the year so far.
Temperatures spiked to a high of 25.6C late last month.
"The middle of the country, saw temperatures of 24C and 25C. And, as it was the longest day of the year, there was around 15 or 16 hours of sunshine, so it was a pretty fine day," Mr Clarke said.
However, he warned that weather systems in the Atlantic would try to "spoil the party" as they were likely to bring some light showery rain today and tomorrow along the west coast.
The situation will improve on Thursday and Friday with dryer and brighter conditions and temperatures in the low 20s. But things could take a turn for the worse next weekend with some thundery downpours expected.
The message from Mr Clarke last night was simple -- enjoy what we have now.
One person who heeded that advice was Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin, who sampled all the delights of New Ross on a whirlwind trip to the sun-soaked Co Wexford town.
Meanwhile, the prolonged dry spell has led to calls for water conservation.
The National Federation of Group Water Schemes yesterday said urgent conservation measures were needed to combat the threat of water shortages.
"We cannot afford to wait until our sources go dry before implementing water conservation measures," said chairperson Brendan O'Mahony.