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Northern Ireland set for hottest weekend of the year

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George Carling takes a break during the Garden Festival at Hillsborough Castle

George Carling takes a break during the Garden Festival at Hillsborough Castle

Mark Pearce

Forecasters predict much of Britain will enjoy the hottest weekend of the year so far

Forecasters predict much of Britain will enjoy the hottest weekend of the year so far

Edinburgh University students Rebecca Richards (left) Kamilla Kvinge (right) enjoy the hot weather at Portobello beach near Edinburgh

Edinburgh University students Rebecca Richards (left) Kamilla Kvinge (right) enjoy the hot weather at Portobello beach near Edinburgh

Danny Lawson

Ola Kociak (left) and Annie Calkin enjoy the hot weather at Portobello beach near Edinburgh

Ola Kociak (left) and Annie Calkin enjoy the hot weather at Portobello beach near Edinburgh

Danny Lawson

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George Carling takes a break during the Garden Festival at Hillsborough Castle

Northern Ireland is set to bask in scorching sunshine this weekend.

It’s perfect garden party weather so brace yourself for a rush on strawberries — or burgers.

Enjoy the balmy temperatures as the sound of lawnmowers and the scent of barbecues wafts over the garden fence, because it isn’t going to last.

That area of high pressure parked over the UK at the moment is bringing deliciously sultry weather rising as high as 24C in places, but early next week the winds will start blowing from a northerly direction and temperatures will take a rapid dive to a daytime maximum by Wednesday of 12-13C.

But have no fears for your tender seedlings — although it will be chilly at night, temperatures are unlikely to plunge to frosty levels.

As the organisers of Garden Show Ireland put the final touches to their floral displays today, the weather is expected to be very warm with a fair amount of sunshine.

Tom Tobler of forecasters Meteogroup said: “There is a slight risk of an isolated shower breaking in the afternoon, but for most places it’s going to be dry. There could be a bit of mist around the coast.

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“Temperatures are up to 24C in places and it will be feeling very warm indeed.

“Then it will be warm again on Sunday but perhaps not quite as much — it will be 20C or 21C, maybe 22C in places.

“There’s an area of high pressure sitting right over the UK which is bringing in dry and settled weather, but it’s not going to last too long.

“As we move into next week, the winds will turn more northerly which will bring cooler air. It won’t be really cold but it will be a noticeable change.”

Thousands of people are expected to take advantage of the sunny weather to visit Garden Show Ireland at Hillsborough Castle to enjoy the jazz and cream teas, spectacular show gardens, Scarecrow Street, Style in the Garden competition and the Garden Gourmet.

One of the highlights will be the ‘Wet and Wild’ bog garden created by staff and inmates of Maghaberry Prison. Not only did it take a Gold in the Show Garden category but it was named Best Garden in the Show.

Maghaberry prison governor Gary McLean, said: “To achieve Gold at a competition of this standard reflects the commitment of the staff involved in this project at Maghaberry.

“It demonstrates what can be achieved by inmates through engagement in rehabilitation pathways provided by the prison regime.”

Avid gardeners can enjoy even more green-fingered attractions throughout the weekend at the Grand Garden and Craft Fair at Mount Stewart on the Ards peninsula.

Meanwhile, Castle Ward will be hosting a Dog Agility event today, followed by a walk tomorrow uncovering the industrial heritage at the estate dating back to the 18th century. Tomorrow afternoon, Springhill hosts a Tantalising Tittle-Tattle event, with household members recounting tales of the people connected to the ghostly mansion. No booking is needed.


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