Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Northern Ireland basks in day of glorious sunshine

Families enjoy the sun at Helen's Bay on the Co Down coast.
Families enjoy the sun at Helen's Bay on the Co Down coast.
Nicole Barr and Kirsty Hoy from Dundonald enjoy the sun at Helen's Bay on the Co Down coast.
Rugby players from Banbridge enjoy the sun at Helen's Bay on the Co Down coast
Summer-time arrives on the North Coast as temperatures reach 20 degrees at Portrush over the weekend. The Barry's Big Dipper. Photo by Margaret McLaughlin
Hijinks at Helen's Bay: Rugby player Craig Muholland from Banbridge is thrown into the sea by his friends on the Co Down coast
Amy Donaghy and Mary Ellen Donaghy enjoy the sunshine in Botanic Gardens
Spectators enjoying the sunshine during the Royal Ballet's performance live on the big screen in Botanic Gardens organised by Belfast City Council
Taylor Payne and Ruth Woodard from the United States in Botanic Gardens
Student Claire McLaughlin, from Ballymoney, relaxes at Portstewart Strand
A couple take a stroll at Portstewart Strand
Having a paddle at Portstewart Strand
With temperatures soaring to those more commonly seen in northern Spain than in Northern Ireland, local dairy company Dale Farm is offering free ice lollies and ice cream to the overheated. Model Jenny Curran kicks off the scorching campaign providing some much needed refreshment to the team from Morrow Contractors in Belfast
People enjoy the great weather during lunchtime at City Hall in Belfast
People enjoy their lunchtime in the grounds of City Hall in Belfast
People enjoy the great weather during lunch time at City Hall in Belfast
People enjoy the great weather during lunch time at City Hall in Belfast
People enjoy the great weather during lunch time at City Hall in Belfast
People enjoy the great weather during lunch time at the City Hall in Belfast as the sun had his hat on.Picture by IanTrevithick
Students enjoying the sun in Belfast
People soaking up the sun in Belfast
A workman cooling off in the blistering heatwave in Belfast
Suzanne Wright (left) and Ruth Wilson enjoying the blistering heatwave in Botanic Gardens in Belfast
Shoppers, workers and tourists soaking up the sun at Belfast's City Hall
A man strips off and soaks up the sun against an electronic recycling sculpture at Belfast's City Hall
Melanie Gardner pictured cycling around Belfast's Albert Clock area enjoy a refreshing cool down from the hot temperatures in the city
Kids cooling down in the blistering heatwave by running through a burst fire hydrant in west Belfast
Glenn Norwood with his family, Helena, Cameron (10) and Zach (5) on a picnic at Stormont Park
The grounds of Belfast's City Hall pictured from the Big Wheel during Northern Ireland's Mini heat wave.
The grounds of Belfast's City Hall pictured from the Big Wheel during Northern Ireland's Mini heat wave.
The grounds of Belfast's City Hall pictured from the Big Wheel during Northern Ireland's Mini heat wave.
Sarah Harrison and Dre Ali pictured at Belfast's City Hall enjoying the sun during Northern Ireland's Mini heat wave
Cooling down at Custom House Square in Belfast
Cooling down at Custom House Square in Belfast
Cooling down at Custom House Square in Belfast
Cooling down at Custom House Square in Belfast
Botanic Gardens, Belfast
BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 01: A man sits in the shade of the pier on June 1, 2009 in Brighton, England. The United Kingdom is enjoying a blisteringly hot start to the summer with temperatures reaching as high as 25 centigrade in London. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Kim Moffat from Ballymena at Portstewart Beach
BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 01: A woman and her child look out to sea on June 1, 2009 in Brighton, England. The United Kingdom is enjoying a blisteringly hot start to the summer with temperatures reaching as high as 25 centigrade in London. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Nicola Porter relaxes on the banks of the River Foyle with a cool drink
BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 01: A couple enjoy the sun on June 1, 2009 in Brighton, England. The United Kingdom is enjoying a blisteringly hot start to the summer with temperatures reaching as high as 25 centigrade in London. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Sarah Jane Quinn from Cookstown relaxes in the sand at Portstewart Beach
BRIGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 01: Youths splash each other in the sea on June 1, 2009 in Brighton, England. The United Kingdom is enjoying a blisteringly hot start to the summer with temperatures reaching as high as 25 centigrade in London. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
Jayne Armstrong from Belfast enjoys the great weather at Portstewart Beach
LONDON - JUNE 01: A woman feeds a Grey Squirrel in the sunshine in St James's Park on June 1, 2009 in London, England. The spell of warm weather is set to continue across the country all week according to the Met office. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Gail Churape of Chewelah, Wash., and her grandson, Harper Sol, (2) of Spokane, get close for a snapshot of turtle soaking up the sun on the north-side of Manito Park, in Spokane, on Monday, June 1, 2009. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Dan Pelle)
A cat relaxes in the morning sun on a terrace near Kiel, northern Germany, as temperatures reach 18 degrees Celsius (64.4 Fahrenheit) on Monday morning, June 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper)
A couple and their dog relax at the beach of Heidkate at the Baltic Sea, northern Germany, as temperatures reach 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, June 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper)
A couple and their dog relax at the beach of Heidkate at the Baltic Sea, northern Germany, as temperatures reach 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, June 2, 2009.
Ein Mann und ein Junge spazieren am Dienstag, 2. Juni 2009, bei Temperaturen um die 22 Grad Celsius am Strand von Laboe an der Ostsee. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper) --- A man and a boy stroll along the beach of Laboe at the Baltic Sea, northern Germany, as temperatures reach 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday, June 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper)
Lauren Shaw, 20, enjoys the good weather at Belfast City hall
Lyndsay Scott and Lauren Shaw enjoy the good weather at Belfast City Hall
Nicola Mowbray, 17, enjoys the good weather at Belfast City Hall
People enjoy the good weather in Botanic Gardens, Belfast
A girl enjoys the good weather in Botanic Gardens, Belfast
Left to right. Rachel Cave, Laura Frey and Johanna Shaw in Botanic Gardens, Belfast
A lone surfer enjoys the last waves of the day as the sun sets in Woolacombe, North Devon, on Sunday 31st May
People enjoy the sun on Blackpool beach, as as the warm weather continues in the UK
Julie Spark (left) and Jemma Newsham enjoy the sun on Blackpool beach
Julie Spark (left) and Jemma Newsham enjoy the sun on Blackpool beach
Jemma Newsham enjoys the sun on Blackpool beach
Three sun seekers join thousands of spectators on Salthill beach as they watch the pro-am inshore racing event on the second weekend of the Volvo Ocean Race in Galway
People enjoy the warm weather in Clapham Common, London
People enjoy the warm weather in Clapham Common, London
School graduates splash in a fountain enjoying the warm weather as they celebrate their last day at school in Kiev, Ukraine
School graduates splash in a fountain enjoying the warm weather as they celebrate their last day at school in Kiev, Ukraine

It may be March — but flip-flops, shorts and sunglasses were out in force yesterday as Northern Ireland basked in unseasonably warm sunshine.

And it was all about barbecues and cold drinks in the garden, or picnics on the beach, on what was certainly the warmest day of the year so far.

Temperatures rose towards the all-time March high record of 21.7C recorded in Armagh in 1965, hitting a hot 21C in Ballykelly in the north west.

There were also highs of 20C on the north and west coasts, although it was cooler by the sea where the mercury hit a more subdued 13 or 14C.

Ballykelly saw temperatures warmer than more southerly parts of continental Europe, including Barcelona, Nice, Majorca and Faro in Portugal, none of which saw temperatures rise out of the teens Celsius yesterday.

Out in the fresh air a group of sporty lads in shorts and T-shirts were playing an energetic game of volleyball in Portrush under a bright blue sky.

Others took the perfect opportunity to visit amusement parks while the weather was good — prompting plenty of family fun in the great outdoors.

And there was lots of flashing of the flesh in Belfast city centre and beyond as people took the opportunity to unveil their summer wardrobes earlier than expected.

Supermarkets and shops were doing a roaring trade in ice-creams, cold drinks and throw-away barbecues as the sun continued to shine.

Although the clocks went forward on Sunday, depriving us of an hour in bed, there were few complaints when it really did seem like summertime.

Meteogroup forecaster Claire Austin said the balmy weather is here to stay for the next few days.

“The sheltered inland areas of Northern Ireland seem to be a bit warmer than the coast, where it’s much cooler,” she said.

“On the east coast we’re only at 13-14C because there’s a bit of a wind off the sea keeping the temperatures down.

“But when you get to the sheltered western parts of Northern Ireland and central areas, that’s where you’re seeing the warmer temperatures.”

Ms Austin said that yesterday’s sunshine wasn’t the start of a heatwave, but she also confirmed that currently there is no rain on the horizon.

“Basically we’ve just got high pressure at the moment so we’re getting some nice warm temperatures,” she said.

“Temperatures are going to stay pretty similar throughout the week, but it doesn’t look like it’s getting any warmer,

“If anything, by the end of the week it’s going to start getting cooler again, but there doesn’t seem to be any hint of rain for this week, or into the weekend.”

Other parts of the UK also basked in glorious spring sunshine yesterday, although Scotland recorded the highest temperature of 22.2C at Fyvie Castle near Aberdeen in the north-east of the country.

But other parts of the North Sea coast would have been hard pressed to notice it was spring at all, with lingering fog keeping temperatures down to around 6C in East Anglia and Kent.

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