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Big rush to escape the grim conditions

By Lisa Smyth

The annual rush to enjoy a break over the Easter weekend has begun with thousands of holidaymakers taking to the roads, oceans and skies to escape the grim weather.

Forecasters have said the Easter weekend, which traditionally marks the beginning of the summer tourist season in Northern Ireland, will be hit with further strong gales and rainfall.

The Met Office’s chief forecaster, Andy Page, said: “It looks like this long weekend will offer a variety of conditions, with some sunshine and showers, but also spells of rain and strong winds.

“Some snow is likely at times over higher ground.”

But bosses at Northern Ireland’s top tourist attractions are hoping families across the province will brave the elements and venture out to enjoy the activities and sights on offer.

“There are loads of places to visit, sights to see and events to keep everyone entertained over the holidays including craft days, adventure sports, egg trails and a music festival,” said Ruth Burns, destination marketing manager at the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Siobhan McKenna, tourist information manager at Coleraine Borough Council, where many of Northern Ireland’s top tourist destinations are located, said they are expecting a large number of tourists to the area in the coming days. “Council managed caravan parks Carrick Dhu and Juniper Hill are both fully booked over the long weekend and we believe that other accommodation in the area are looking forward to a busy weekend, and hopefully some sunshine,” she said.

Translink are operating a special Easter holiday timetable and encouraged anyone planning to travel around Northern Ireland in the coming days to make use of the services on offer.

While tourist bosses in Northern Ireland are hoping for a bumper start to the summer season, thousands of people have booked to go further afield — and escape the cold weather the province has been experiencing in recent days.

Travel agents have reported a rise in the number of last minute bookings as Ulster was gripped in the unseasonal cold snap.

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