Sun-seekers flocked to Ireland’s beaches and parks as the country basked in the first August heatwave in years.
Temperatures in Dublin, Offaly, Cork and Wexford reached a muggy 28C, while counties Kildare, Laois and Tipperary recorded highs of 25C or 26C respectively.
Along the west coast, temperatures reached 23C and 24C, bringing thousands to the beaches and waterways.
Noirin O’Brien from Rosscarbery, Co Cork, and her dog Rolo made the most of the beautiful weather at Old Head Beach in Louisburgh, Co Mayo.
Noirin and her boyfriend Niall Campbell, who hails from Claremorris, Co Mayo, are both teachers and are cramming in as much fun as possible before schools go back.
“We had our picnic basket and got delicious coffee, it was a brilliant day,” said Noirin.
“It’s great to see people so happy and enjoying the sun.
“There were loads of people on paddleboards, jumping off the pier, kayaking, and having picnics and BBQs.
“And for the first time I’ve ever seen Ireland, there was even a banana boat.”
Jake Gannon and Aoife Heverin from Castlebar, Co. Mayo also took the opportunity to soak up some sunshine in Louisburgh.
“I’ve had a few free hours and when this weather comes you have to make the most of it. People have been complaining about the rain long enough,” Jake said.
“It was full here today, but we got a parking lot and a great spot on the beach. It’s like abroad. There’s a good crowd, but not too mental. It was nice and comfortable.
“You would never have to leave Ireland if we had more weather like this.”
Seaside businesses are reaping the rewards of the hot weather.
Ben Bennett, the owner of Ben’s Surf Clinic in Lahinch, Co Clare, said the day was magical.
“It’s super crowded. The beach was crowded all morning. There must have been 4,000 people there,” he said.
“And we were lucky that we got some surfing too so it was hectic between our holiday makers, our day trippers and then all our surf campers. “The tide came in and when that happens people come off the beach and the town fills up.
“So there are queues for coffee and queues for restaurants and just a lot of people sitting on the walls enjoying the sun.
“It’s fantastic. We’re always waiting for this weather and now it’s here and it’s going to stay like this for the rest of the week, which is great.
“The Irish are great at enjoying the good weather when it happens. We get out and get in.”
With the glorious weather set to continue into early next week, Ben urged anyone planning to enjoy a day at the beach to put their safety first.
“Of course it’s great to get in the water in this weather, but if you end up at a beach you don’t know, ask a few locals before you jump in the sea,” he said.
“Make sure you are water conscious. Just because there are crowds doesn’t mean it’s safe. You still need to know where it’s safe to go.
“Talk to the lifeguards and get the local information. It is so important.”
Meanwhile, Matthew Niedzwiecki, regional manager of Gino’s Gelato, said it’s been a busy week for her chain of stores across Ireland.
“The last few days it has been absolutely mental. It’s so busy. But that’s what our business is about, and gelato is a wonderful summer product,” he said.
“Bubblegum flavor and all the sorbets fly out, so they would be our main flavors.
“July is our busiest time of the year and then it usually quiets down in August.
“But this week has been crazy. This is great for our business and our employees get more hours.
“Our customers love to be on the move – everyone is in top form.”
News that Keem Beach on Achill Island in Co Mayo has been voted the number one ‘wild bathing spot’ in Ireland and the UK comes as no surprise to locals.
But sadly, it gets plagued with trash every heat wave.
Saoirse McHugh, an Achill resident and environmental activist, said there was a persistent problem with litter being dumped on beaches.
“There’s a lot of camping down in Keem and that’s fine, but there are also people lighting fires and I’m always waiting for the hilltop to catch fire,” she said.
“The bins are too small, so people keep leaving garbage bags.
“Some of us did a beach cleanup on Sunday and there were a lot of broken glass bottles.
“A toddler could easily stand on broken glass – it’s frightening to think about.”
https://www.independent.ie/weather/seaside-businesses-reap-rewards-of-august-heatwave-and-irelands-ice-cream-favourites-are-not-what-you-think-41904178.html Seaside businesses are reaping the rewards of August’s heatwave – and Ireland’s favorite ice cream isn’t what you think it is