Smooth start to year but unsettled weather ahead
IT may have been the warmest January in almost 14 years but water temperatures remain just a few degrees above zero.
That didn't stop one hardy surfer from donning his wetsuit yesterday and riding the waves off Co Clare.
Olly Griffin's picture shows the surfer catching an Atlantic roller into Lahinch Beach as the sun set on the west coast yesterday evening.
The sunshine was typical of last month's weather -- with January marked by some welcome warmer conditions.
Temperatures went from the record lows recorded in December to one of the sunniest and driest Januarys for more than a decade in parts of the country, according to Met Eireann.
It was the driest January for between 10 and 14 years in parts of the west and south-west, and since 2006 in other areas.
Forecasters said there was about 40pc less rain around the country generally than is normal for the time of year -- leading to continued pressure on water supplies and reservoirs in some areas.
Valentia's weather station recorded its driest January since 2000, while it was the driest at Dublin Airport since 2006.
It was also sunnier than usual, especially in the west and south. Belmullet's total of 87 hours of sunshine was its highest for January since 1985.
While there were cold snaps at the beginning and the end of the month, no weather station recorded temperatures as cold as last January.
There will be an element of pathetic fallacy in the next week to 10 days, when, similar to the political situation in Ireland, the weather will be unsettled.
"There will be a fair amount of wet and windy typical Irish weather in the next week to 10 days," forecaster Gerry Murphy said.
"It will mostly be unsettled with blustery weather at the weekend."
He could not, however, predict what the weather will be like for polling day on February 25 but it could be chilly, as last year February was the coldest in 24 years.
Even if the weather takes a turn for the worst it won't deter the hardcore surfers, however.
Eamon Welsh, from Ocean Scene Surf School in Co Clare, said surfers were out even during the Big Freeze last December.
"Water temperature is usually higher than outside temperatures," he explained.