Heatwave sparks a huge Easter exodus to the seaside
Easter Monday delivered Northern Ireland's hottest day of the year so far - and the good news for those off for the rest of the week is that the balmy weather is set to continue until Friday.
Thousands basked in the Easter sunshine yesterday as local temperatures rivalled those of Rome and London. The north Antrim coastline was the warmest spot at 17C degrees with Belfast a close second at 16C.
John Wylie of the Met Office said that while Easter Monday was warm, it wasn't a record-breaker.
"It's very welcome and pleasant weather for Northern Ireland," he said, "particularly when you consider that just last Thursday some places had snow."
However, the holiday traffic congestion also caused some Bank Holiday headaches as motorists headed out to various attractions. Portrush was inundated with visitors who were determined to enjoy the sun, sand and amusements and at one point cars queued for long periods waiting to get into the town. Outside Newcastle, traffic was backed up for four miles and police issued a warning of heavy congestion caused by the amount of cars heading to Belfast Zoo.
"Easter is the busiest time of year at the zoo and we have welcomed more than 6,250 people today," manager Mark Challis said.
Big crowds were also reported at the Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra. An influx of 4,500 visitors made it the busiest Easter Monday at the museum for five years.
A spokeswoman said: "The weather has been great. We've had a steady flow of visitors all day and we hope to have an even better day tomorrow."