Life's a beach and then you fry as the dial hits 25C
IT rarely lasts long, so it is probably best to make the most of it. The word 'BBQ' trended on Twitter yesterday as the long-awaited sunshine seemed to bring out the planner in just about everyone.
Tesco reported strong sales of disposable barbeques, along with plastic crockery and 'al fresco' items. It saw a 200pc increase in meat sales and a 50pc rise in sales of ice pops on the hottest day of the year.
Met Eireann said temperatures reached 22.3C in the midlands yesterday, beating the previous hottest day, March 27, when the mercury reached 22.2C in Belmullet, Co Mayo.
Parts of Ireland were hotter than the Mediterranean and North Africa yesterday -- and they will get even hotter today, with Met Eireann forecasters predicting 25C highs in the west.
The east and south will be cooler, however, due to south-easterly winds coming off the Irish Sea. Nevertheless, it will remain very pleasant, with temperatures in the high teens.
Ireland's overall May temperature record is 28.4C, which was recorded at Liscahane, Ardfert, Co Kerry, on May 31, 1997.
Tens of thousands are expected to hit the coast this weekend as Met Eireann said the blue skies would continue into next week.
Sunbathers were warned they will burn in 30 minutes as the UV index reaches level seven -- normally seen only in the height of summer -- while health chiefs told everyone to drink more water to avoid exhaustion and heatstroke.
Weather forecasters say the sudden heatwave is due to a mass of continental hot air shifting westwards and getting hotter each day due to a lack of wind.
Met Eireann said next week would start hot but that showers and average temperatures would return by mid-week.
"There'll be lots of sunshine. It's a big change from the start of the week," a spokesman said.
"It will be warm and dry, with good spells of sunshine and temperatures in the low to mid-20s in many places today. The generally dry, sunny weather will continue through the weekend."
Failte Ireland spokesperson Louise Tolerton said: "Good weather means there will be more people at outdoor attractions and more spending -- which is good news for businesses. Day and weekend domestic trips are an important source of revenue for Irish tourism."