THE summer of 2023 was like a meal with an outstanding starter, terribly disappointing main course and a surprisingly pleasant dessert, even if it arrived a bit late.
The Met Éireann report for summer 2023 showed that the weather station in Shannon had the warmest mean temperature at 16.5 degrees celsisus. But on the other hand it was also exceptionally wet, with 45% more rainfall than an average summer.
Met Éireann’s summary for the season said, “Summer 2023 saw the warmest June on record on land and at sea, the wettest July on record with 17 stations having over 200% of their Long-Term Average (LTA) monthly rainfall and finished with two named storms in August that downed trees and caused flash and coastal flooding.
“The season began very dry with widespread climatological dry periods up to mid-June, before breaking down with eight consecutive days of intense thunderstorm activity. Atlantic westerlies took hold towards the end of June. July saw Atlantic low pressure systems dominating in a mostly westerly or cyclonic airflow. Ireland lay on the cooler northern side of the North Atlantic jet stream for most of the month, which was relatively strong for the time of year. Numerous active weather fronts crossed the country along with periods of intense, sometimes thundery, convective rainfall.
“August was again dominated by Atlantic low pressure systems. Two named storms, storm Antoni at the beginning of the month, named by the UK Met Office and storm Betty just after mid-month, named by Met Éireann, were the significant weather events of the month. They brought spells of very heavy rain and strong winds causing coastal and flash flooding and brought down numerous trees in the East of the country.”
In terms of tourism, Kilkee based councillor Cillian Murphy said that it wasn’t a great season. “Most people would say it wasn’t a great summer. My own take on it was that there was terrible weather in July, so straight away one of the busiest months was taken out. I also think there was pent up demand for overseas holidays. Some people hadn’t been away due to Covid, people might have had holidays booked that were cancelled or deferred, a couple of people I knew had decent holidays booked but had to defer until after Covid. I know last year was Covid free but people were still nervy, but this year I think they said we’re done with Covid and we’re going to take those holidays.”
While it wasn’t a great summer weatherwise, he said that in the future Irish summers might be considered more positively by holidaymakers, as global warming makes southern European far less attractive. “I would have spoken with a lot of overseas visitors and their take was that the weather was lovely here, even when it was pouring rain. They had left 38 or 39 degrees in Italy or Spain and they were very happy with the Irish weather. I’ve also spoken to people who were away and they came home and said they couldn’t cope, they spent 10 or 14 days in an apartment with the air conditioning on full time.”
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.