Ireland's best-known 'amateur' weather forecaster, who accurately predicted a white Christmas, has said Ireland will get a break in the new year -- but only briefly.
Postman Michael Gallagher, who forecasts his weather from movements of animals and birds around his Bluestack Mountains beat in Donegal, says the thaw will continue for another few days but we can expect the snow to return by mid-January.
The 62-year-old postman from Glenfin does not track weather fronts or use satellite technology for his forecasts. He uses the time-honoured means of observing the signs of nature.
His fame has spread so far that Sky TV produced a programme on him last week and he has just been asked by TV stations in Oslo and Stockholm to tell their viewers how he does it.
But Michael has decided, after more than 30 years of weather-forecasting from natural elements, to take a year out in 2011 and concentrate instead on a new book, his second.
He said yesterday: "I'm taking a break. I'm not going to do any more weather for a while."
But he agreed to give his final prediction for 2010 and into the new year.
He said: "I haven't been out delivering mail since Christmas Eve so I am not predicting from the movements of the animals. But you can take it there won't be much change from what's happening now in the next few days.
"But the snow will be back. It went away too quick and it will be back before the middle of January."
Before Christmas he predicted heavy snow from fox and deer coming in towards the farmyards.
Michael doesn't take credit for his accurate forecasts. He added: "It's the voice of the past, old people remembering all the signs."