As Northern Ireland basks in 30C-plus heat today, those lucky enough to enjoy a day off have been taking full advantage of the scorching weather.
Beaches in areas such as Portrush, Portstewart and Newcastle were packed with cars, surfers and families out enjoying the day.
The hottest temperature recorded in Northern Ireland on Monday afternoon was 31.1C in Derrylin, south Fermanagh, followed by 30.8C in both Armagh and Aldergrove in Co Antrim.
However, Northern Ireland’s record 31.3C recorded in Castlederg last year is yet to be beaten.
Meanwhile, Ireland recorded its hottest temperature in more than a century today as parts of Dublin reached 33C, according to Met Éireann, while parts of England were expected to reach a sweltering 41C.
In Helen’s Bay in Co Down, throngs of sunseekers walked from the train station to the beach this afternoon.
The first thing that hit you, other than the cooling breeze coming from the water, was the seemingly unending queue for the ice-cream van.
Paula (34) took a short train ride from Belfast with Natasha (31), Colin (36) and kids Carter (8) and Jacob (11), describing the train journey as “packed out”.
“The weather has definitely got warmer, since last year,” said Paula.
“If the weather was nice here more often, I’d still go abroad. I love here too, but it’s nice to get away as well.”
Natasha (31) and husband Colin (36) were sunbathing for a couple of hours and were struggling to cope with the heat.
Along the grass verge lining the beach, people put down blankets, inflated paddling pools and disposable barbeques, cooking burgers and sausages.
Kevin (40) and Kristina (31), from Belfast, drove to catch some sun with kids Khaleesi (7) and Khal (5).
They both work nearby and appreciated the convenience of Helen’s Bay.
“Usually we’re away [on holidays],” said Kevin. “This is our first summer at home in 10 years. Usually we’re in America, Turkey, Italy or Spain.
“But, I’ve always said that, if the weather was like this, we’d never leave Belfast. Everything’s perfect bar the weather.”
The more sun-averse beachgoers lay under their parasols and tents to avoid the scorching sun, while others were posing for pictures along the water.
Dogs snaked through groups of sunbathers, with parents on sunscreen duty for partners and kids.
Shaunna (31) was catching some sun in between babysitting her kids and godchildren.
“I’m from Bangor, so I’m a local,” she said. “I would go to Ballyholme Beach, and I was there yesterday, but I love the vibe down here.
“When the music’s blasting and everything, it’s great.
“The people here are better craic. They’re all on our wavelength. I’m only back from Turkey, so I still like to go away to get away from everybody.”
The water was reasonably calm, if a bit choppy, and some of the braver kids swam out from shore.
Further out, surfboards, paddle boats and speedboats were all across the water.
Couples Davey (50) and Judith (45) and Denise (50) and Jason (50), from Broughshane, were basking in the heat and were delighted to get a day off from work on one of the best days of the year.
“We like going camping in Ballintoy, but I don’t mind it here,” explained Davey. “Everyone’s enjoying themselves. It’s like Benidorm by the beach.
“We’re away to Turkey in August, but if the weather was good more often we would probably holiday at home more.
“But we’ve found that places here have put up their prices, so it’s harder to stay here because it’s cheap to go to Turkey or wherever.
“It’s cheaper to jump on a plane to Amsterdam than it is to stay here.”
In the Republic, a status yellow high-temperature warning remained in place.
Data from Met Éireann shows that temperatures soared to 33C at Phoenix Park in the Irish capital today, making it provisionally the hottest day ever recorded in July.
It also breaks the high-temperature record for the 21st and 20th century.
It said: “Phoenix Park has broken the highest 21st temperature record with 33C, which is Ireland’s highest of 2022 so far and 12.8C above normal.
“This is only 0.3C below the all-time 135-year-old record set at Kilkenny Castle in 1887. Temperatures may still rise further.”
The rise in temperatures has forced Met Éireann to issue a hot-weather warning that is to last until midnight tomorrow.
It said that exceptionally warm weather will occur over Ireland today with daytime temperatures of 25C to 30C generally and possibly up to 32C in places.
Night-time temperatures will range from 15C to 20C.