Sunglasses or rose-tinted: Did the Irish summers actually used to be hotter and longer?

The summers of 2006, 1996 and 1986 are getting a retrospective

This week saw the first time the temperatures in Ireland reach over 20 degrees this year, which lead to the inevitable rush to the beach for the day, sudden "sick days", and tsunami of customers at your nearest beer garden.

However, as is the Irish way, once the beginning of summer has officially kicked off, we're already looking forward to the next rainy day so we can declare summer officially OVER.

There is a constant feeling that summers in Ireland used to be so much better, that the days were hotter, the sun stayed out longer, you can actually get a tan here. Not like today, oh no, where you get two days of fitful sun before the umbrellas and snow coats need to dug out again.

So, with the information supplied by Met Eireann, we've looked back over the summer-y months of 10 years ago, 20 years ago and 30 years ago, just to see whether or not the summers were as great as people seem to recall them being.

 

MAY 1986

Wet and dull in most of the country, especially the west and south. Dublin and the east received most of the sunshine, but it was still just about 65% of the normal temperature and hours of interrupted sunshine expected from an average May.

MAY 1996

This was the coldest May on record in some parts of Ireland. Towards the end of the month, the temperatures picked up slightly, only to be replaced by pretty much constant rain.

MAY 2006

The wettest May since, well, 1986, with some areas reporting records amount of rain since the records actually began in 1866. Higher than average number of ground frosts were also reported, with the temperature only raising above 20 degrees at one point during the entire month.

 

JUNE 1986

The second half of the month was dominated by powerful thunder storms that brought some volatile weather patterns with them. Temperatures were high, but didn't have the sunlight exposure to match them, and the storms eventually caused some severe damage across the country.

JUNE 1996

Temperatures regularly got up to 25 degrees, with up to 140% the normal amount of sunshine hours for a regular June. 

JUNE 2006

Dry and warm pretty much nationwide, reportedly the warmest June in Ireland in over 30 years, with rainfall as low as 20% the normal amount for the average June.

 

JULY 1986

Dullest July in over 30 years, with strong, cloudy weather from the Atlantic still effecting Ireland's summer. Cool days, mild nights, and certain areas reporting record lows in sunlight exposure since records began.

JULY 1996

Topped out by torrential rainfall, it was mostly a dry and warm July, with top temperatures measured just below 27 degrees. 

JULY 2006

A heatwave over most of Europe meant that 2006's July followed much like 2006's June, with parts of the country getting temperatures over 20 degrees for 29 out of the 31 days. The recorded high point was 31 degrees.

 

AUGUST 1986

Cold, wet and windy, the rain storms this month were severe enough to cause widespread flooding across the country. Hurricane Charlie ensured it never got any warmer than 21 degress.

AUGUST 1996

Temperatures were ever so slightly above normal, but rainfall was significantly higher than previous Augusts. Temperatrues never rose above 24 degress.

AUGUST 2006

Highs of 28 degrees, and while the end of month brought in some thunder and rain storms, the average temperatures was one-and-a-half-degrees above the average August.

 

There you have it. If anything, the summers seem to be getting better over the decades. Hurricanes and thunderstorms were a regular occurance in the summer months, which isn't something that seems to happen an awful lot lately. Some folks will probably point towards global warming towards the increase in temperature, but it doesn't explain the increase in direct and active sunlight on Ireland.

So the next time somebody claims the summers aren't as good as they used to be, you can now inform just how wrong that statement actually is.