Newcastle and Portrush see trade heat up as heatwave continues over weekend


Staff at an ice cream parlor say they struggled to keep up with demand after a heat wave led to a sales boom.

Other retailers are also reporting an increase in trading related to the warm weather.

This follows another day of high temperatures yesterday, which saw mercury levels push near 30C in some places.

And forecasters say this weekend could see the hottest day on record in August.

At Maud’s Cafe in Newcastle, customers lined up yesterday to buy an ice cream to cool off.

“We’ve been crazy,” said Kel, a well-regarded cafe employee, who added that it’s been non-stop since they opened yesterday.

The cafe overlooks the beach and regularly sees lines of customers queuing outside their doors on hot days.

She added: ‘We’ve barely had the staff to keep up with the number of people entering the store for the past few days.

“It’s not even just the tourists who come from Belfast and other places, it’s also the locals who come to enjoy the sun.

“My son had been out earlier, and there were so many American tourists who had all come to Newcastle early in the morning because they had been told how nice it was.”

Newcastle remains one of the best places for those seeking the sun and wanting to top up their tan with views of the Morne Mountains.

PSNI Newry, Morne and Down tweeted yesterday morning that the city was already filling up with people and advised people to park responsibly.

Gerry McAleese, manager of Arrosto cafe in Portrush, is also reveling in the warmth that brings people back to the coast, with Portrush remaining one of the best places for sun-seekers in Northern Ireland.

“It’s been very busy and it’s great to see. The beaches here are full of people, it’s great that the summer in Portrush has returned to normal,” he said.

Mr McAleese said the reopening of Barry’s former entertainment – ​​now Curry’s Fun Park – is also helpful to his business.

The fate of the amusement park remained uncertain after it went on sale in 2019.

“It’s great…the entertainment helps not only us but the entire Portrush community,” Mr McAleese added.

It’s not just the hospitality industry that is benefiting from the increase in customers due to the heat – those who sell all the important beach items have also reported a boom in trade.

Jamie MacDiarmid, the manager of Woodies Surf Shop in Portrush, said the sunshine is bringing back surfers and those interested in trying the popular activity on Portrush beaches despite the end of the season fast approaching. The shop sells beachwear and rents surf and paddleboard equipment.

“The weather for our business has such a big impact, and with the sun over the past few days we have been very busy,” he said,

“We saw a lot more attendance because of that.

“It can be tough to get sun and surf conditions at the same time, but since it’s later in the season now, people are coming into the store to rent things.”

The most popular items ? Surfboards and wetsuits, Mr MacDiarmid said he saw quite a few customers arriving at the store hoping to soak up the sand and sea.

For those who don’t like to get too wet, Woodies also offers the perfect alternative: skateboarding, a pastime which, like the sun, has warmed up in the seaside town in recent days.

“Skateboards are very popular as it’s nice and dry and it’s really big in Portrush,” Mr MacDiarmid added.

Temperatures rose above the mid-20s on Thursday, with Katesbridge in County Down basking in 28.5C sunshine.

It was slightly cooler in Armagh where the thermometer reached 28.3°C.

Ballywatticock in Co Down, which was put on the map in July 2021 after briefly holding the record for the hottest day in Northern Ireland’s history, baking at 27.9C.

Meanwhile, Stormont Castle and Glennane, Co Armagh, sweltering in 27C, according to Met Office data.

Forecaster Craig Snell predicts even warmer days ahead.

“The next few days are going to remain very hot,” he said.

“The heat will be concentrated in the southeast corner on Friday and we could well see a degree increase from Thursday closer to 30 ° C

“Everywhere else will be fine in the mid-20s.”

The meteorologist said parts of Co Down are certain to reach 30C on Saturday.

“Once again we will see another degree rise in the southeast and we will keep an eye out for records – especially the August record,” Mr Snell said.

“The hottest day on record in Northern Ireland was in Tandragee in 1995, when it reached 30.6°C”


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